Staying together for kids or separating

Staying together for kids is one reason given by couples for choosing not to divorce or separate.

Whether or not staying together for kids actually works for them seems to depend upon a number of factors. If the parents are arguing in front of the kids or where there is an atmosphere of tension and stress, it may be better for the kids that their parents separate or at least lived separately. At least then when the kids are staying with one parent, there will likely be a more relaxed environment. They can then spend time with that parent without having to worry about their parents fighting or being angry with each other.

It seems that even where a couple would prefer for themselves to separate, it may be best for kids if their parents are staying together for the kids. Judith Wallerstein in “The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce” expresses the view that children are generally better off if the family unit remains intact even if the parents are no longer in love. However, it seems that it is only best for the kids if the parents are able to live together or at least under the same roof, in harmony. If the parents are able to make a positive living environment for their kids.

It is of course a lot to expect of a person and the decision to stay together for the kids may involve years of sacrifice on the part of either or both of the parents.

If parents wish to separate and cannot together manage a calm, positive environment for their kids in the one home or where there is abuse by one or both parents, whether against each other or any of the kids, then separation would seem advisable.

At LGM Family Law, our family lawyers generally see people when they have either separated or are considering separating. Sometimes, someone we see may be considering staying together for the children.

We are family lawyers and child custody lawyers in Brisbane and Brisbane Northside. We are not psychologists. We are not qualified to give advice concerning the decision whether or not to separate or for that matter, whether or not separation will be in your kids’ best interests.

However, if we are seeing a person for legal advice who indicates that they may prefer not to separate or to remain separated from their former partner, we will often recommend that they see a counsellor or psychologist whether alone or with their former partner.  It is worth noting that it seems that many people will regret several years after they separate or divorce having followed that path at all.  A former judge of the High Court, Sir Paul Coleridge has said that a high proportion of people who separate wish that they had stayed together after a few years of living with the consequences of separation.  See Daily Mail, 9 February 2016. If you and your partner can stay together then in a health relationship, so much the better.

That having been said, for many people seeing us for the first time, the decision to separate has already been made or made for them and staying together for kids is no longer an option.  If that is your situation, contact our family lawyers Brisbane or our child custody lawyers Brisbane. We are also family lawyers in Brisbane Northside and child custody lawyers in Brisbane Northside.

If you are not separated but considering separation, we also recommend that you obtain legal advice from our family lawyers Brisbane so that you have the information and advice that you need to be able to make an informed decision.

If you do separate, our Brisbane child custody lawyers or North Brisbane child custody lawyers can assist you to reach agreement with your former partner for parenting arrangements, whether by a parenting plan or a court order (which can be obtained by consent without the need to go to court).  When staying together for kids is not an option for you, it is important to ensure that as far as possible, arrangements are agreed with your former partner that will provide continuing security in the kids’ lives and reassurance for them that they are loved by both their parents.

Our family solicitors also have the experience to assist you to finalise property division with your former partner. Our goal is always that arrangements are made with your former partner on an amicable basis.  If it is necessary however to go to court, we have the experience to represent you effectively.

We can meet you in our Brisbane CBD office (4000) or our Brisbane Northside office at the Grange (4051). If it is more convenient for you, we can also arrange a consultation over the phone, by skype or facetime as you prefer.

The information contained in this blog is not a substitute for legal advice. It is important that you do obtain legal advice that is tailored to your particular circumstances and needs.