Established in 1982, at Brendan Fleming Solicitors we specialise in Family Law, offering our clients expert legal advice in both Public and Private Law matters, including Care Proceedings, Non-Accidental Injury, Divorce & Children’s Proceedings and issues with Social Services.


Contact Brendan Fleming Solicitors by emailing or by calling 0121 683 5000


Contact our Non-Accidental Injury Department on 07730 143 432. If it is out of hours, you can call our staffed 24 hour helpline on 0121 683 5000. Alternatively you can email us on

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0121 683 5000


Divorce & Children – FAQs

Divorce can be a sad, stressful, emotional, and confusing time for everyone involved. And children, in particular, can experience massive upheaval. This article aims to address some of the challenges you may encounter and answer a few of the questions you may have about your children when going through a divorce, including how to tell your children, whether children get a choice of who to live with, and how best to support your children.


How Do I Tell Child About My Divorce?


It is difficult to find a way to tell your children about your divorce. Explaining what’s happening and why is never easy for parents or children. Here are some tips for telling your child about your divorce to help your child cope and ensure they feel supported:

  • Prepare what you’re going to say beforehand so that you can anticipate tough questions, then tell your children together with your ex-partner so that you can present a united front.
  • Explain to your children that you know it is hard for them and that you’re sorry. Reassure them that it’s not going to be easy but it is going to be okay.
  • Tell them you both still love them. Let them know that they can continue to have a loving and supportive relationship with both parents.
  • Be clear that it is not their fault, but a decision made between the parents.
  • Try to avoid blaming the other parent and don’t share negative feelings about them.
  • Be age-aware. Keep in mind their age and their level of understanding. Younger children will require a simpler explanation, whereas older children may want more detail. Give a kid-friendly explanation and use language they will understand.
  • Tell the truth – your kids are entitled to know why you are getting a divorce, but pick something simple and honest such as ‘we don’t get along any more’. You don’t need to give them information they don’t need, such as about affairs.
  • Try to answer their questions honestly but don’t be afraid to tell them you don’t know the answer.
  • Try to comfort them with hugs.
  • Whether there are tears, anger, pleading, or fear, allow them to express their feelings. Acknowledge their feelings and tell them that it’s ok to be upset.
  • Address changes and future living arrangements by acknowledging that things will be different and some things will change.
  • Let them know they can talk about their feelings with you and they can talk to you about the divorce any time.

Where Do Children Stay During the Divorce Procedure?

Negotiating a divorce can take time. So who do your children stay with during the divorce procedure itself? To decide this, you and your ex-spouse will need to make a temporary agreement. The best way to do this is to agree amicably between yourselves where your child will stay.

The best thing to do is to reach an agreement that is best for your children. You can do this by considering such things as which parent’s home is closer to their school, which parent can spend the most time with the kids, and which parent can take the kids to their various activities.

If you and your ex-partner cannot reach an agreement over who your children should stay with during the divorce procedure, you can get help from the court by making an application for a Child Arrangements Order.  Before doing so you must attend a mediation session, in which an impartial mediator will help you and your ex-partner resolve matters and reach an agreement. If mediation fails and you still cannot reach an agreement, a judge will make a decision who your children should stay with during the divorce procedure based on the child’s best interests.

Do Children Get A Choice of Who to Live With?


Deciding who your children will live with will be one of the biggest decisions you will make with your ex-partner when getting a divorce. These are called contact arrangements and they refer to who the child lives with and when they see the non-resident parent. This should be decided by the parents, and it’s best to make this decision without going to court.

You should make sure you make your decision based on what is best for your children, not what’s best for the parent. You should also keep in mind that children do best when they have contact with both parents.

Shared care is a good option, which is where children live part of the week with you and the rest of the week with the other parent. For other families, it may be best for the children to live with one parent most of the time and see their other parent regularly.

When making this decision, it may be helpful to ask your child their opinion and discuss the options with them. You can get their help to think about how things would feel for them and listen to any suggestions they make. However, don’t ask them to choose where they want to live as this may make them feel that they have to choose between their parents. Ultimately, you are the adults and you make the final decision who your children will live with based on what is best for them.

When making this decision, you also need to think about how much stability your children need, their age and personality, who has the most time for parenting, who has enough space at home, and how they will get to and from school.

If you’re finding it difficult to make this decision, the next step is attending family mediation, in which an independent professional will help you come to an agreement. If this fails, you can go to court for a Child Arrangements Order as a last resort.

If you fail to make an agreement over where your child should live, you may need to take your case to court where a judge will make the decision for you. When deciding on residence for your child, the court will take into account the wishes and feelings of the child and who they want to live with. They will also focus on other key factors including:

  • any risk or harm to the child
  • their physical, emotional, and educational needs
  • the child’s age, sex, background, and characteristics
  • the likely effect on the child of a change in circumstances
  • the ability of each parent to meet the child’s needs

Ultimately, the child’s welfare will be put first and they will make their decision based on what is best for the child.

Where Can I Find Support For My Child?


Gingerbread – provides support for single parents in England and Wales and offers advice on child support, benefits, housing, and work.

Relate – relationship support and advice on understanding children’s feelings and behaviour during separation and how to make this transition easier for families.

Family Lives – information, advice, and guidance for all family members on how to deal with divorce.

Citizens Advice – offers guidance on making child arrangements once you separate and provides information about the child maintenance scheme.

Families Need Fathers – advice on how to maintain a child’s relationship with both parents during and after the divorce.

Sorting Out Separation – government website offering help and support for separating parents.

Cafcass – advice for young people as well as parents about what happens when parents separate and how to put children and young people first in the family courts.

Advice Now – a guide to sorting out arrangements for your children when separating from your partner.

With near 40 years of experience, Brendan Fleming solicitors are family law specialists based in Birmingham. Contact us today to speak to one of our family law solicitors to learn more about how we can help you settle your divorce and get more information about our fees and prices.

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Arrange a consultation – 0800 246 5147. Or email us at