Parenting after separation and divorce can be difficult at the best of times. This month we have brought you words of wisdom from someone who has been there before. This person has requested that they remain anonymous and we will always honour that request. At the end of the day, we want to show you that other's have been there before and they have always made it through to the other side!
How long have you been separated for?
I have been separated for four years – divorced for three.
How many children do you have?
I have 3 children.
How old are your children?
My children are 16, 12 and 12.
Was the decision to separate a mutual decision between you and your ex?
Our separation was initiated by my ex husband but agreed upon by myself. We separated for 18 months a few years earlier and decided to get back together for another 2 years. Then separated permanently.
Did you have to get lawyers involved following your separation or were you able to work everything out between you?
We worked it out between us, but lawyers were consulted independently. A Solicitor drew up the binding financial agreement for us.
Looking back on your separation would you do anything differently?
No - probably wished we hadn’t got back together the second time but everything is different in hindsight!
Did the separation have any significant impact/s on your children?
Hard to comment – they seem well adjusted and we are amicable so that helps. Lets wait and see when they enter into relationships!
Did the separation have any impact on your relationship with your children at the time? If so how?
There are always greater challenges raising children as a single parent. The buck stops with you. We decided I (mum) would be the primary care giver while they were young. And my career allowed me to do this.
Did you ever engage the services of a Counsellor or Psychologist to help you or your children through the separation process? If so do you feel it was beneficial to you or your children?
Yes we both sought counselling yes it was beneficial. No we did not arrange for the kids to see counsellor – we ensured they were not dragged through much.
What is your relationship with your ex like now?
Friendly, amicable. We discuss the kids mostly. I have no problems entering his house when we drop off and vice versa. He is not my best friend but will always be the father of my children, so in my mind I remain very civil.
What is your relationship with your children like now?
I think its good – I have a teenager so that presents its unique set of challenges. Being a young man now I feel he should spend more time with his father. I am very close to my 12yo twins. Maybe they remember less. I know they both wish mum and dad would get back together. But they have many friends in similar situations so they don’t feel “unique.”
If you could give one piece of advice to parents going through separation regarding their children what would it be?
To remember the children did not ask for this. That they are the innocent ones and should NEVER be used as ammunition in the process. Always speak respectfully about the other person in front of the kids – even if you may think differently. Do not blame the other around your children. Be flexible where possible about clothes and toys etc that float between the two houses. Kids are not that organized! That’s more than one piece of advice!