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For separating couples, the emotions are often heightened and in the midst of sorting their divorce, they often overlook the impact of the divorce on their children it is important to ensure the wellbeing of the child is a number one priority. If this is something you need support with, Consilia Legal, have a specialist team of family lawyers who can advise and support you through the process and help you to resolve not only the divorce and finance aspect of your case but any child contact issues that may arise. We also offer a divorce and family law mediation service at our offices in Leeds city centre, Harrogate and London or remotely for those further afield.

It is a well-known but an unfortunate re-occurring issue that the child/ren are affected by parental conflict in such a physical and emotional way. Conflict between parents can heighten anxieties due to feeling on edge around either parent so it is important that you keep conflict away from your child/ren and do not project any untoward feelings about your ex-partner/spouse on the innocent child/ren. If conflict is not contained it can have serious detrimental effects on a child and increases their risk of mental health issues, social, academic and behavioural problems if they feel a certain way.

How can you reduce parental conflict?

Divorce and separation are huge adjustments to the life of the parties themselves and any children of the family. This can be even more complex when disputes around the contact children are to have with each parent. To reduce conflict, you could:

  • Find a neutral environment to discuss any issues that are disputed between you, be open about how you feel. Mediation is a good environment to explore the resolution of issues in a neutral environment.
  • Ensure that everyone has an opportunity to voice their opinion and provide time for the other person to respond. It is important to be respectful of each other’s opinion even if this differs to your own.
  • Engage the support of family and friends to help you work through any issues in a positive way.

5 top tips for successful co-parenting:

  1. Effective Communication – Communication is a huge downfall for most co-parents due to the attempt to talk through the child rather than speaking directly to one and other. If talking directly is something you and your ex-partner struggle with then it may be worth using other methods of communication such as email, text or the use of a parenting app.
  2. Create a Parenting Plan – A parenting plan is a written agreement which is curated by both parents ensuring all needs are met in the best interest of the child/ren. The plan can help clarify the arrangements you need to put into place to care successfully for your child following the separation. A parenting plan template can be found on the CAFCASS website.
  3. Keep Your Approach Child Focussed – it is easy to lose sight of the impact that disputes between parents have on a child. You should not involve a child in adult conversations, and try to resolve any disputes with your child at the heart of the discussions, not allowing the focus to be on what each parent wants.
  4. Consistency is Key – A child will adapt to loving in two houses, and where possible you should try and agree certain boundaries within each home, so that a child has as much consistency as possible. It is not expected that two parents will have the same parenting style, but guidelines around the use of social media, bedtimes etc, will provide some stability.
  5. Make Sure The Contact and Handovers Are Handled in a Positive Manner –  the breakdown of a relationship is a very emotive time, but this should not impact on the contact a child has with each parent, so ensuring that you talk positively about the other parent in the presence of the child and the contact that the child has with the other parent.

What support is available for my child/ren?

It is extremely normal for children to experience a hard time when their parents decide to separate due to all of the emotions they don’t know how to process yet. Child/ren and young people tend to have very resilient minds so will generally talk to friends about the changes happening, however, some child/ren may struggle to open up to people they know and trust (this is very normal) so it may be worth engaging your child in therapy or with a counsellor.

There are a number of services young people can reach out to or you can on their behalf, It may also help for you to use co-parenting apps if conflict happens quite frequently a common example is WeParent which allows co-parents to communicate without the need for physical face to face contact. Aquila offer a self-help course to those who need support following a breakdown of a relationship and helps with managing any emotions that have manifested because of it.

The Cafcass website also has a lot of useful information about co-parenting, including access to separated parent’s courses, and you could attempt child inclusive mediation if you want your child to be involved in a neutral setting in resolving any disputes. Laura Clapton, is a practising child inclusive mediator should this be an option that you would like to explore.

We believe we’re the best at what we do. To speak to one of our award-winning family law solicitors, you can call 0113 322 9222 or email