1. Take a shared parenting approach . This means continuing your joint role as parents and sharing the responsibility as equally as possible from the time of separation. This enables your child’s relationship with both parents to continue in a meaningful way, rather than an arrangement whereby one parent plays a more peripheral role.
2. Develop a ‘parenting plan’ . This will set out how you will jointly make decisions about your child, share responsibilities and time with the children, and how you will deal with the inevitable difficulties that arise. A parenting plan can be developed together and/or with the assistance of trained family mediators, or solicitors trained in a ‘collaborative law’ approach.
3. Make decisions in your child’s best interests When making a parenting plan it is the quality of contact rather than the quantity that matters most. In situations of domestic abuse or violence, your child must not be placed in a situation where he or she may be at risk. Any contact arrangements with your former partner should be based on the child’s best interests and guarantee that your child will be safe and protected. This may mean that in certain situations contact is independently supervised.
4.Do not involve your child in adult conflicts Before separation, hostility between parents may feel frightening and children may feel ‘caught in the
middle’. After separation, conflict is just as damaging and may make it harder for children to have a close relationship with each parent. Try to keep sight of the positive aspects of your marriage and share these with your child.
5.Support your child’s relationships with both parents. It is important for both parents to be involved in your child’s life. This means respecting your child’s relationship with your former partner. In situations where your former partner forms a new relationship, this may also mean learning to respect your child’s decision to develop a relationship with this person.