Angelina’s child care reports highlight importance of getting on with your ex

By Kate Banerjee, head of the Children Department

Reports that Angelina Jolie may lose her role as primary carer of her six children unless she improves her relationship with Brad Pitt reinforce how vital it is to get on with your ex.

It’s claimed that Angelina’s involvement in their sons and daughters lives could be substantially reduced if she tries to prevent her former husband from spending time with them.

In our experience children will be unsettled by any split and the importance of keeping divorce and its aftermath civilised – with co-operation, negotiation and rancour-free agreement – is paramount.

We will suggest support, such as counselling or family therapy, if we feel it will help families to cope with a marriage break and help children to retain healthy relationships with both mum and dad.

Here are four steps to keep children as happy, secure and untroubled as possible during challenging times:

Think of parenting as a business partnership

 

Be considerate to each other. You wouldn’t argue with a colleague in front of a client or criticise them publicly, so treat your ex with respect – regardless of whether you think they deserve it.  Make it easier on your children by showing a genuine interest in what they do during the time they spend with your former spouse.

Sign up to a joint plan

Compile and sign up to a joint parenting plan which includes the home and school environment you both want for your children. This will include visiting schedules and holidays for parents and grandparents, routines, bedtimes, homework, television and IT access.

Factor some flexibility into your plan to allow for your respective home and work commitments – and to ensure it evolves to accommodate your children’s needs as they grow.

Keep children updated

Children like certainty and security so tell them what’s happening at all times.

Let them know as far in advance as possible about visits and holidays so they can adjust to anything unexpected and look forward to calendar highlights such as birthdays and holidays.

Maintain constructive dialogue

Avoid using your children as messengers – constructive, direct dialogue between you and your ex keeps the spirit of co-operation alive.

It is vital for children to see their parents agreeing on key issues from the outset of a divorce. This will help enormously as they grow up.

Working with your ex may not always be easy, but communication and collaboration will make a huge difference to the present and future lives and well-being of you, your ex, and, most importantly, your children.

For more information about divorce and finances, children’s issues or any aspect of family law, call Jones Myers at our Leeds office on 0113 246 0055, our Harrogate office on 01423 276104, visit www.jonesmyers.co.uk, email info@jonesmyers.co.uk or tweet us @helpwithdivorce

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