Divorce proces

Divorce and the best interests of the child

How to act in the best interests of the child when emotions towards the ex-partner take over? How do we not lose sight of what is most important? How do we provide relief and reassurance to our child? It is worth asking ourselves these questions when we are facing one of the biggest revolutions in our lives. Consider whether you can apply any of the following advice….

  • Let the child be present at the conversation. Not physically, while it would be a good idea to take a picture of the child to the negotiation or therapy. It helps to change the perspective to forget what is most important at the moment.
  • A 50/50 split, is it really fair? Are there situations where an equal split is not good for our child at all? Take, for example, a situation where one parent is present in the child’s life every day and the other is often away on business trips. It is the former who usually takes care of the logistics and organisation of home life. In such a case, would it be a good idea for both parents to share the same number of days? Obviously, this is something to aim for in the long run, but perhaps it is worth it (especially at the beginning) to limit the additional stress and shock for the child of the change in functioning immediately after the divorce?  When making one of the most important decisions of our lives, let’s not forget that for the sake of our children we need their perspective.
  • Let’s be careful what we say, especially in front of teenage children, whose maturity we often overestimate. Let’s not let them become the confidants of our frustrations. When a child asks, “Is it true that Dad cheated on you” we can answer:

(a) “Yes, it’s true, he broke my heart and destroyed our family”.

b) “Yes, it’s true, Dad decided to be in a relationship with someone else”.

  • When deciding on shared custody, don’t create unnecessary conflict. If your ex wants to take the child to a concert in the evening and it’s your turn (he didn’t inform you beforehand, as he often did during your marriage), the defence mechanism automatically kicks in: “Here we go again!”, “That’s why I couldn’t rely on him/her”, etc. You want to say no. Put yourself in your child’s shoes. Think about what the concert means to him/her, if he/she likes the band, if he/she wants to go. What would be best for him/her! This is not MY TIME, this is YOUR CHILD’S TIME WITH ONE OF THE PARENTS.
  • Start with small steps and changes. Give yourself time and be flexible. You cannot know from the start what will work for you.