From the term itself, you might have guessed that responsible divorce means to divorce in a manner where you are accountable, and are answerable for those involved.

But how does one do that? And what is a good example of divorcing responsibly?

The following statements from divorced parents can give you a better understanding :

“Responsible divorce means you put the interests of the child first. It takes priority over everything else.”
“Responsible divorce is isolating the conflicts of the adults away from the children. A child who knows the financial situation (“I can’t afford it, your father doesn’t pay enough support” or “We don’t have enough money”) and has information on why his/her parents are getting a divorce, or legal issues like court dates knows too much adult information. “
“Responsible divorce means an attempt to lessen the trauma and disruption of the children’s lives as much as possible”
“My definition of a socially responsible divorce starts with both married persons accepting their contributions to the failure of their marriage and that things would be better for themselves and their children if they were to lead separate lives. A socially responsible divorce also implies that both people take responsibility for the proper upbringing of their children.”
“A responsible divorce to me means friends, families and children are not expected to take sides. Two people decided to get married, and two people decided to get divorced. The child does not ask to be born nor does he ask to get divorced.”
“Life became much better for my daughter. She now has 2 families taking care of her, showing her love and support instead of just one. She seems happier now”

As you can see, the term ‘responsible divorce’ means different things to different people. There is no right or wrong answer, but if you asked me what my definition of a responsible divorce is, it would be :

“To affect the lives of all those involved as little as possible, while putting the child’s interests first before anything else.”

I mentioned the children’s interests as a priority because in a divorce, children are the victims of the choices made by their parents. They do not deserve it. Hence, i feel that parents owe it to their children to make life as least disruptive for them as possible. In other words, to make the children’s life before and after divorce to be as similar and familiar as possible.

While the husband and wife relationship has ended, the parent and child relationship should still go on unaffected. So some points on how to be a good and responsible parent during divorce are remembering that :

  1. Your children’s interests and feelings come first
  2. You should ensure that you tell your kids you and your partner still love them very much, and that the divorce is between you and your partner, not them. They were never the cause of it.
  3. Focus on the positive effects of the divorce and communicate them to your children
  4. Handle issues with your partner in a civil manner
  5. Arguments should not happen in the presence of children
  6. Share children’s issues and updates with each other (school, activities, upcoming events etc.)

Providing care and nurturing the children they brought into this world is a shared responsibility of both parents. Parents have to put the feelings of the children first, regardless of their own sentiments about the other parent. It’s about striking a balance between you and your partner, and working towards the common goal of providing the best possible environment for your children.

So while there is no one right answer on how to have a responsible divorce, the above pieces of advice should help to point you in the right direction. A responsible divorce will help you, your former partner and your children lead a better and happier life afterwards. It may also help to lessen the negative impacts divorce may have on your children, so it doesn’t affect their upbringing.

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