It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

Author: Teresa Cullen

Resolution’s fourth Family Dispute Resolution Week is from 23 to 27 November.

It’s not yet December and we are inundated with the Christmas adverts ranging from dogs in woolly jumpers to the lonely old man on the moon saved by the cute, kind hearted little girl with her very own telescope.

Whilst we may like to think that Christmas is always perfect, the reality, particularly for those going through a divorce or separation, can be far from the truth.

Whilst the advertisers are busy carolling, Resolution, the group of family lawyers who promote mediation, collaborative and other alternative dispute ways of resolving divorce and separation, carried out a survey of young people aged between 14 and 22 with experience of family break-up.

The overwhelming majority (82%) of the young people surveyed said that they felt that it was better their parents divorced than stayed together unhappily.  It also showed that a significant proportion of them felt strongly that they should be part of the decision making process about what happens and that their views should be taken into account; around half said that they didn’t understand what was happening during their parents’ separation or divorce.  Most enlightening, when asked what they would most have liked to change about their parents’ divorce, 31% of young people said they would have liked their parents not to be horrible about each other to them.

It’s a difficult time.  It’s often said that children need their parents most when their parents are sometimes least able to be there for them.

There are things that can be done to make children feel loved and secure during a difficult period, particularly with the advent (all puns intended) of Christmas shortly upon us.  Resolution have produced a parenting charter which they are seeking to persuade the Government to adopt and to pass on to all separating parents.  Later this week they will also launch an online advice guide at

We also have guidance available to parents on how to deal with helping their children through the separation process.  Children can adapt and recover, given love, care and understanding.

I must end now as I have correspondence to write… “Dear Santa…”.

Teresa Cullen, Partner, Fladgate LLP (


Communicating with children video link:

Links to the divorce and parenting online advice:

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