Parent Mental Health Day (PMHD) encourages understanding and awareness of the importance of parents’ mental health and its impact on the whole family. With this year’s theme being ‘balance’, the day aims to get parents and carers to take a moment to reflect on the balance they have in their lives and to take positive steps to make change.*

To tie in with #PMHD and January, when there is usually a spike in divorce enquiries, Sue Andrews, family partner at B P Collins, advises on how to reach an amicable divorce between parents (and also couples who don’t have children), to help reduce emotional upset, anxiety and cost, which will benefit all involved.

  • Acceptance – Accepting that a relationship is over is key – and this may involve giving yourself and your former partner time and space to grieve both the end of your relationship and the future you will no longer have.  Individual or couple counselling can help with this, but crucially try not to rush into the formal process, until you are ready.
  • Put your children first – When you have children, their needs and interests should be considered first. This is vital for their wellbeing, but can also benefit you and your former partner, since it shifts the focus onto people who rely upon you, and that can help to build a strong foundation for you to parent your children.  As parents you will have an ongoing relationship for the rest of your lives, and you are likely to attend events together from school parents’ evening to your children’s weddings, so you need to be able to “get on”.
  • Try not to argue over the little things – Always keep an eye on the bigger picture and the longer-term.  When dealing with financial matters for instance, in most cases there is very little to be gained by arguing over who gets a particular item. Try not to bring up past events, or make accusations about each other. If you can avoid that, it will help to minimise emotional distress.
  • Be honest and respectful – You are each required to provide complete and clear information about your financial and other material circumstances, for example an intention to live with someone else). Be frank about all matters and not play games in this disclosure process.  Trust and respect is vital for a good ending.
  • Get the right support – Talking to family members and friends can help you through difficult moments, but although they are in your corner, ask them to support you in your wish to want to remain amicable and on good terms with your former partner. Your friends and family want you to be happy; and any anger and distrust will only delay that.  Counselling can also offer vital support.  Talking and being heard in a neutral and supportive environment can help you and your former partner to vocalise your upset and grievances. A counsellor can then suggest mechanisms to help to keep the emotion out of the formal matters  which need to be dealt with.  Also, instruct a specialist family lawyer, whom you have a rapport with, and who will provide clear and constructive advice, which can include telling you things you don’t want to hear.  This support should help to deal with matters amicably and enable you to move forward without bitterness and upset.

The family team at B P Collins has a wealth of experience to help, advise and support you through your divorce. If you would like to discuss your matter, please call 01753 279046, or email sue.andrews@bpcollins.co.uk. You can also follow our family team on Instagram at: @familylawyers_bpc

*Source: stem4


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Sue Andrews
Practice Group Leader

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