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Separation with child - what is best for the children together?

The victims of a divorce are always the children - a sentence that is not entirely correct. Certainly the separation and divorce of his parents is anything but nice for a child. But don't children suffer a lot more when their parents stay together and fight aggressively with each other every day? Seen in this way, the separation and divorce of the parents can also be better for the children. It is important that the parents respond to their children - and above all give them the feeling that they are there for them despite the separation.

The most important things in a nutshell: separation with child

  • In the event of a divorce with children, parents should inform their children about the separation in good time, but only if it is absolutely certain. Discussions about whether they should actually separate should not be conducted with the children.
  • The abandoned parent should not play the victim and play the child off against the other parent. Furthermore, he should not seek consolation in the child and overwhelm them with it.
  • Parents should talk to the children in good time about what happens after the separation or after the divorce. You should make it clear to them that despite the breakup, they are still there for the child and that the child is not to blame for the failed relationship.

You will find detailed information on separation with a child below.

Divorce With Children - A Parent's Guide

More information on the regulations if children are affected by separation & divorce:

Access rightsCustody rightsRecognition of paternityRight to determine residence statusChange modelYouth welfare office
Neglect of children

When the separation is imminent, how do I tell the children?

One of the hardest things for parents to do is to tell the children that father and mother separate. Since this is a significant turning point in the children's lives, it should only be discussed with them when the separation has been firmly and definitively decided. Parents' considerations as to whether a separation or divorce should actually take place with children should not be discussed with the children under any circumstances. That would only unnecessarily burden the children, who are preoccupied with themselves because of school or puberty, depending on their age. Conversely, a firmly resolved separation that is still delayed (e.g. because one parent is still looking for an apartment) should still be discussed. Because the children inevitably notice when the parents behave at a distance from one another due to the finally decided and imminent separation. Here should the Children not left in the dark and thereby unsettled, but created clear relationships become.

Another question is how the later children of divorce can be taught that their parents no longer love each other. Only younger schoolchildren who go to primary school can understand from their thinking that their parents no longer understand each other and therefore have the opportunity to separate. This is far more difficult with smaller children. If they were told, for example, that the separation was due to a constant quarrel, the answer based on their way of thinking would be roughly: "But why, I also quarreled with Linda from kindergarten and now we're friends again". Younger children are therefore best told that father and mother no longer want to live together as well everyone wants to lead their own life.

The reasons for the separation or disputes should be given to the children - depending on their age can be explained briefly and simply in a few sentences. Detailed reasons are to be avoided as they are regular "Adult Themes" include, with which the children are completely overwhelmed. To a certain extent, this also applies to adolescents who, due to their puberty, are primarily concerned with cutting the cord from their parents and developing their personality. It should absolutely be avoided with children Loyalty Conflicts to evoke. If, for example, one parent has been abandoned because the other has fallen in love with a new partner, the children are quickly told: "Dad doesn't want to live with me anymore, he has fallen in love with another woman". This arouses the feeling in the children that they have to stick to the abandoned parent and should no longer love the other. This one Responsible parents should definitely spare their children an emotional balancing act.

Children want to know what happens next

Once the children understand that the parents are separating, younger children and younger school children in particular ask very pragmatic questions. These are for example: "Where do I sleep (when we move out)?", "Is there enough space for my toys?" Or "Who will drive me to kindergarten?" Parents who talk to their children for the first time about the decided separation, should have already considered an answer to all of these questions in advance. This also assumes that the parents have at least roughly agreed on what the future of being together with the children should look like. In addition, the children should be involved in all questions relating to the future. For example, if the mother is looking for a new apartment for herself and the children, she can Bring children with you to the viewing appointment and say that this could be your room and that is how we could furnish the apartment. If the new apartment is being renovated themselves, the children can help. In this way, the children know what to do next and experience a certain security that takes away their fear.

This is how children experience separation and divorce - and how parents should deal with them

Children have significant problems when a father and mother finally separate. With one parent moving out The previous world collapses for the future children of divorce. From the children's point of view, the family is no longer safe; they are initially completely disoriented and must first learn to deal with the new situation. Even if every child reacts differently: Almost every child shows certain age-typical reactions whereby the transitions are fluid.

Babies and toddlers: helplessness prevails

Babies and toddlers also notice when a parent moves out and the separation with the toddler takes place. The helplessness of children often shows in Tantrums and aggressive behavior. Others are afraid and do not leave the remaining parent alone for a moment. Because according to the children's thinking, this parent could also leave them. And finally, some children do Regression: You wet yourself again or want the pacifier again, although that was all in the past.

The parent with whom the babies and toddlers live should be patient and there for the children despite their own separation problems. Regular contacts and visits of the moved out parent should definitely take place, even if only for a few hours at a time. Children’s fear of loss in particular can be gradually reduced in this way. It will take some time until the future children of the divorce are secure again, especially since there is still no sense of time.

Kindergarten age children: "It's my fault"

Kindergarten children react similarly to babies and toddlers, albeit much more pronounced. It can happen that they beat other children in the day care center, do not want to have lunch or refuse to go to the toilet. At this age they are not aware that other people can perceive the world differently from themselves. Relationship and affection are developed through concrete “doing something with each other” in which the children see themselves as the focus. If one parent is now less available due to their move-out, this will be considered by the children due to their way of thinking Deprivation of love felt. The The children look for reasons for this in themselves and believe to be to blame for the breakup.

A typical example of this is that a child cleans up his room after a long time, which he has never done before despite complaints from his parents, and now thinks: “Now I've cleaned up, my parents don't have to argue about me anymore ".

Are important for the children of kindergarten age clear structures and an approximate guide to what will be in the future. Both parents - especially the one with whom the children live - are challenged to support the children despite the separation To give security and to take fear away. The reliability of the parents is the top priority here. In addition, everything that is important for the children should be integrated into the new ways of life of the parents as well as the people to whom the children have a permanent relationship.

Younger schoolchildren: First conflicts of loyalty

When the children go to primary school, they can partially understand what is happening in the family and how the separation with children takes place. The later children of divorce realize that other people perceive the world differently than they do. In doing so, however, the children think, the others express their actual intentions through their actions. The children cannot yet recognize the hidden intentions of other people. For the first time, children are able to grasp the changes affecting them themselves as a result of the separation of their parents, as well as express feelings such as sadness and the desire for the parent who has moved out to return.

Nevertheless, the children are helpless, sad and angry. Sometimes school performance deteriorates and the way you interact with friends and classmates also suffers. In addition, the first conflicts of loyalty arise. On the one hand, some children would like to support their “abandoned”, “lonely” parent who is in need of support, for example by doing household chores. On the other hand, the children themselves need the support of what they consider to be the stronger parent. Most of the time, the children therefore want the parents to get back together and that there is no divorce with children in the first place - which expresses the children's desire to avoid the conflict of loyalty.

Parents need to be aware of this phase of their children. The parent grieving over the end of the relationship should not keep the children bothered with their problems. But the parent who ended the relationship should also be sensitive to it in the presence of the children. A piece is desirable here Normality in the changed living conditions. In addition, children who have recently started school need a large part of their strength and energy to find their way around in a new environment that is unfamiliar to them. Parents should also take this into account when separating despite having a child.

Older school children: Allianz or partner substitute

Older schoolchildren up to approx. 12 years of age recognize that the actions and intentions of other people can diverge, whereby behind “unpleasant” actions there can also be good intentions. Love and closeness between children and parents is no longer shaped by action, but by mutual feelings. This is what is meant by that Concern for the other's well-being, combined with the recognition of goodwill. If the child realizes the good intentions and feelings of the parents, be with him positive feelings evoked. But it can also be the other way around Conflicts between children and parents come because of different attitudes and opinions - and no longer, as before, solely because of behavior that is perceived as unpleasant.

Due to this development, it is possible that there is a separation or divorce between the children and one of the parents strong solidarity arises. The children form an alliance with the parent hurt by the separation and sometimes even take on the role of the missing partner, which the parent unconsciously accepts. This inevitably causes a Alienation from the other parent. If this is recognized by the parent with whom the children form an alliance, they can be extremely manipulated (so-called Parental Alienation Syndrome - PAS). Regrettably, in practice there are again and again cases in which mothers abandoned by their husbands influence the children in this way against the father, which is partly true Lost contacts who leads children.

Other possible reactions from children at this age are that they lose all respect due to the constant arguments between parents for them. Since the parents lose their authority over the children in this way, massive upbringing problems often arise.

Here, too, the rule is that the children should not be burdened too much with parental problems. It is precisely because of the separation that the children need the support of their parents, who for their part have to seek help other than that of their children because of their problems. In addition The function as a substitute partner overwhelms the children in the long run, as they deal with non-age-appropriate conflicts. Through the accompanying Impairment of the ability to concentrate of children can lose their academic performance. It is important that the future children of the divorce have fun in life, in school, in hobbies and with their friends through the support of their parents, so that in the event of separation, despite the child, they can approach both parents unencumbered and happily.

Adolescents: Puberty is added

From around 15 years of age at the latest, children are able to look at things in a superior way, ie to see and generalize their own point of view and that of others from the “perspective of a third person”. At the same time are the children busy breaking away from parents due to puberty and develop into your own personality. Conversely, because of the separation, parents often seek comfort and support from their children, which disrupts their development. The consequences are sometimes very violent reactions from the young people, ranging from “no bother” to drug or alcohol consumption to looking for support from friends. But some young people also take action Party for one parent and react almost hostile to the other. And some young people want contact with both parents, but fear that this will hurt the “weaker” parent. If the young people are older, it can also happen that they withdraw completely from their parents' home, where they want to move out or flee to friends. As a result, separation with children often results in adolescents growing up faster than is good for them.

One of the biggest problems adolescents face when their parents separate is that they are in the difficult phase of personal development the usual support collapses. Even if adolescents are “rebellious” during puberty and often behave negatively towards their parents, they know that the parents are ultimately there for them. In spite of the separation, the parents should therefore take their own problems towards the young people back significantly. The young people are entitled to to make their own experiences. In doing so, the parents should clearly convey to their children that, despite the separation, they are there for them with help and advice if the young people so wish. This Support should be offered to the children even if they misbehave towards their parents. At the same time, clear rules are important. Ideally, the parents will discuss this with each other and exchange views on the development of the young people observed together.

These are the legal requirements for separation with children

After the breakup, other issues related to children become important. This includes that care, the Right to determine residence, the Access rights, the Right to information about the personal circumstances of the child and the Entertainsfor the kids. In the context of child maintenance, it is also regulated which parent receives child benefit in the event of separation or which parent receives child benefit in the event of divorce.

Both parents have custody

If the parents were married to each other (or have each issued custody declarations for the children), that suits them Custody of the children together too, § 1626 German Civil Code (BGB). This also applies to the time after the separation or divorce.

Overall are three areas differentiate between joint parental custody in the event of separation and divorce, § 1687 BGB:

  • Decisions in matters of daily life

The decisions in matters of daily life are made by the parent who where the child has his habitual residence. These include, for example, decisions about school tuition, the treatment of minor illnesses or the specific stay with relatives.

  • Decisions in matters of actual care

In matters of actual care, the parent with access rights decides during the time the child is with him. This includes, for example, the type of diet or bedtime.

  • Decisions on matters of major importance

Decisions on matters of major importance the parents can only meet together. The subject of such decisions is, for example, the choice of school or vocational training, consent to operations (except in urgent cases) or basic decisions about the center of life.

A parent only receives sole custody if this is applied for at the family court. The best interests of the child are decisive. Only if this is endangered or impaired, the court can partially or completely withdraw parental custody, § 1666 BGB. There are risks or impairments to the best interests of the child, for example if the children are threatened with neglect or urgently required medical treatment is not given. Another case that can lead to complete withdrawal of custody is the parents' unwillingness to communicate. If the parents do not talk to each other after a bitter war of divorce, for example, this can lead to the deprivation of custody of the person with whom the children of the divorce have no habitual residence.

Right to determine residence: with whom the children live

In practice, the question of who the children should live with after the separation is of considerable importance. For this purpose, the parents - as an outflow of personal care - must agree on with whom the child should have his habitual residence, § 1627 BGB. If this is not possible, the family court decides on the right to determine residence, § 1628 BGB. However, custody and residence determination rights are to be separated. For example, the right to determine the place of residence can lie with the mother, but both parents have custody.

Right of access: the parents are obliged and entitled

The child has the right to interact with each parent, whereby each parent is obliged and authorized to interact with the child, Section 1684 (1) of the German Civil Code (BGB). After that the child has its own right to interact with both parents, from which the parents can in turn derive their own right to interact with the child. Conversely, the parent with access rights should not forego contact with the child for reasons of the child's best interests.

So that the contact is not affected, the so-called applies to both parents Good conduct clause according to § 1684 Abs. 2 BGB. According to this regulation, both parents have to "refrain from anything that affects the relationship of the child to the other parent or makes it difficult to bring up". This means that the parents are mutually forbidden from influencing the child negatively towards the other parent. They also have Grandparents, siblings, stepparents and other important caregivers a right to contact the children of the divorceif this serves the best interests of the child, Section 1685 (1) and (2) BGB.

If there are disputes about the handling or if this should be restricted or excluded for reasons of child welfare, the family court decides, §§ 1684 Abs. 3, 1685 Abs. 3 BGB. This also includes the cases in which the court orders "accompanied" ("protected") contact in the presence of a third person willing to cooperate (e.g. from the German Child Protection Association) in order to rule out any risk to the best interests of the child or to initiate first contact between father and child.

The children are allowed to have a say

Depending on how old they are, the children are allowed to have a say in custody, determination of residence and contact. That's about how it is with handling the wish of a six to seven year old child to be considered by the family court, while, for example, the withdrawal of custody of a parent against the will of a 14-year-old child is almost impossible. In order to exercise their rights, the children also receive one from the court Legal counsel assigned (so-called attorney for the child), Section 158 of the Act on the Procedure in Family Matters and in Matters of Voluntary Jurisdiction (FamFG).

In practice, however, the wish of younger children in particular for a habitual residence with the father is difficult to realize if the father works full-time while the mother is a housewife.

A frequent shadowy existence: the right to information about the child's circumstances

In practice, the Right to information about the child's personal circumstances made use according to § 1686 BGB. The judicial officer decides on this claim, which is treated rather “neglected” by some family courts. According to this, the parents are obliged to provide the other parent with information about the child's personal circumstances if there is a justified interest, provided this does not contradict the child's best interests.

This requirement is significant if, for example, one of the parents has no contact with the child. Here, this parent can - usually every six months - from the other Request two photos of the child, a copy of the school report card, and a report on the child's development, interests, and health. It does not matter that the child does not want this information to be disclosed. The claim is only excluded if there is a risk that this information will be misused.

Children are entitled to maintenance

Maintenance is one of the questions to be settled in the event of a separation with children or a divorce with children.

Where there is help and advice for out-of-court conflict resolution

Even if many parents are willing to compromise for the benefit of their children after a separation, an amicable solution cannot always be found. The local youth welfare offices offer help and advice here, which also provide information about the advisory services offered by other local organizations and institutions.

If no agreement can be reached in this way, the only last option is the path to Family court. However, due to the confusion for laypeople, it makes sense to consult a specialist lawyer for family law. If your financial situation is difficult, you have the option of receiving legal aid. The lawyer will also be happy to advise you on this.

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Separation with child - what is best for the children together?
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