Separating from a spouse or partner is never easy

It is even more difficult if you have children together. Here are some things you should think about before you separate.

Where will the children live?

If you plan to move out, will you take the children with you or leave them in the home with your spouse? If you fear that you or the children are in danger of physical abuse when you announce your desire to separate, you should remove the children from danger. You should then talk to a lawyer about seeking an emergency order that will protect you and the children from harm.

If you have no fear of abuse, you should talk to your spouse and try to reach an agreement about where the children will live. If you cannot reach an agreement, you should use a mediator to help you resolve the issue

If you want the children to live with you, the court might wonder why you left the home without them. On the other hand, you do not want to take the children out of their home without your spouse’s permission. Talk to a lawyer about how to handle the situation if your spouse will not agree to let you leave with the children.

How much time can you spend with the children?

If you plan to move out and leave the children in the home with your spouse or partner, you should negotiate a plan to spend time with the children on a regular basis. You might take them out for meals or movies, or they might spend the night with you from time to time.

You probably want to spend as much time as you can with your children, but you also need to be realistic. If you have a job, you probably cannot be with your children during working hours. If your children will be staying overnight, you need to be sure you can get them home or to school before you leave for work in the morning. You also need to find a place to live that has room for the children if they will be staying with you from time to time.

What should you tell the children?

Ideally, both you and the other parent will put your children first. That means that you never say anything bad about the other parent when you talk to your children. It is best if you can sit down together with your children and explain that they are not the cause of your separation and that you both still love them just as much as ever. If it is not possible to meet with your children together, reassure your children on your own and consider getting a mediator who can persuade your spouse that it is important not to poison the children against the other parent.