Splitting up is never fun, but there’s a lot to think about when you are splitting from your co-parent. It’s more than crashing on a friend’s sofa for the night until you can get your own place. For example, that place needs to be suitable for children. You have to think about how to parent without being in the house, or without a co-parent in the house helping you, and lots more. Take a look at our tips for riding out this storm with your children put first and foremost.
Settle on a timetable
No doubt, when talking (or shouting) about splitting up actually turns into action, there will be the conversation about when each parent can see the kids. Both parents are entitled to see their children, barring any grievous reasons that pertain to the welfare of the children, so it’s important to get this nailed down quickly.
Try not to turn it into a screaming match, or at the very least try to discuss it when not around your children to avoid the negative affects of an argument. You might want to look into hiring a solicitor simply as a mediator at this point.
Get it in writing
However, a timetable is going to quickly fall by the wayside if a co-parent simply isn’t pulling their weight or is looking for every excuse to get out of it “just this time”. This is one example where you need to get it in writing. Manipulative measures can be taken to convince you that they are in fact following the timetable you set out, with no reference, or to change it on the fly. Get it in writing to ensure that you have a record of whenever it isn’t being met or changed.
While you’re looking up solicitors to deal with this, you might want to think about money. Child support payments should also be in writing if only to have a record of what was agreed to, even if it isn’t being paid.
Know your rights
You might think you are overstepping your rights as a parent by making demands, but most of the time the opposite is true. Too many people go on through life tolerating an abusive or combative co-parent “for the sake of the kids” because they don’t know their rights.
For example, there is a lot more to fathers’ rights in the UK than getting that name on the birth certificate. Take a look at this page to be sure of a father’s rights during divorce in the UK.
As another example, abuse from an ex-partner is still domestic abuse, and you have the right to keep them away from you if you want to. Look into a non-molestation order or even a restraining order if you want to make arrangements to keep them away from you.
Keep the drama for your mama/therapist
And finally, don’t let your children see any unsavoury behaviour. Don’t go complaining about your co-parent in front of your children. Not only will you affect their opinion of you more than them, but they’re likely to report it back to your co-parent. As for how your children will take it, it’s bound to have a negative affect on their psyche but is also more likely to evoke some sympathy for your co-parent more than you.
If you need to vent, create a support system around you. If that’s your family, your friends, your therapist, so be it. A listening ear and a bottle of wine should get at least some of those frustrations off the table and if the problems go deeper than frustrations, you should think about professional help.