Breakups can be difficult at the best of times, but they can be particularly challenging if you both have kids together. Doing what’s best for you and what’s best for the kids isn’t easy. Here are a few tips to negotiating a breakup when you have children.
Plan how to tell your kids
Once you’ve decided that you’re definitely breaking up, the first thing you’ll need to do is tell the kids. If your kids are older, they may have already sensed that you weren’t getting along, but the news could still come as a shock. If you and your partner have come to a mutual agreement, it’s important that you both tell the news together so that your kids realize that you’re both serious about it. You should break the news at home where your kids are likely to be comfortable. Make your kids understand that it’s not their fault and allow them to ask questions, being as honest with your answers as you can.
Decide how to share out parental care
After one of you has moved out, your kids will have to get used to sharing time between the pair of you. You’ll need to decide the best way to do this – it’s usually healthy that your kids have a stable base, which means spending most of their time in one place. They can make regular visits to the other parent’s house. Coming to an amicable agreement isn’t always easy – in the case of a bad breakup, one partner may attempt to claim full custody in which case you may have to look into hiring child custody lawyers. When arguing this decision, make sure that the kids aren’t around so that they don’t feel caught in the middle.
Decide financial arrangements
Depending on the amount each of you is earning, you should both contribute a certain amount of funding towards your kids. If you were financially reliant on your partner, it may be their job to continue paying for the kids. Making financial arrangements isn’t easy and may also require hiring a solicitor or a financial adviser to come to a fair decision.
Keep up a routine
A sense of routine is important for your children – it will give them something familiar to cling onto. When sharing out parental care, try to arrange a schedule so that your kids know when they’re going to see each parent. Try to keep up other routines that existed before such as keeping bedtime at the same time and allowing them to attend the same after school clubs.
Listen to your kids
One thing that many parents don’t do is listen to their kids. If your kids are young, they may not be able to make decisions for themselves, but in the case of older kids, they may want to have some input when it comes to how much time they spend with each parent. You need to approach the situation practically, but you should still listen to you kids and let them have a say.