Remember the Five Cs for children in divorce

8th March 2015 by


When a couple decides to divorce the spouses will usually go their separate ways to seek the expert advice of a divorce solicitor in Brighton, London or elsewhere to ensure their affairs are handled justly and that any divorce financial settlement is made in their best interests.

Despite many family lawyers being sensitive to the financial needs and welfare of any children of the relationship, as this will be a priority issue for family courts in dissolving the marriage and granting a divorce, when it comes to the emotional disruption a divorce can cause, many reports suggest that children of divorced parents will ultimately suffer as a result of the breakup.

Children of divorced parents can thrive
Christy Buchanan, professor of psychology at Wake Forest University, North Carolina, says in the Wall Street Journal, that “children can absolutely thrive after a divorce, but it takes hard work”.

Under her model, parents need to be prepared to treat their relationship after divorce much like they would a business relationship and attempt to behave towards each other as they would with a client or a business colleague.

Dr. Buchanan suggests that paying attention to the “Five Cs” can help children of divorcing parents avoid the emotional damage that an acrimonious or contentious breakup can inflict.

Five Cs for children in divorce

  • Closeness – Research shows that children who remain in contact with both parents do best, but being close to one parent is better than losing contact with both. Closeness can be maintained with routine activities, even when visiting an absent parent, such as teeth brushing and doing homework together. Having special treats with each parent, such as trips and holidays, is also important.
  • Care giving – This can be anything from participating at bath time to cooking meals together. Dr Buchanan says, “This should be loving and responsive, as well as have age-appropriate limits, expectations and demands.”
  • Conflict – Possibly the most effective way of minimising the adverse emotional effects for children in divorce is for parents to avoid fighting and openly denigrating each other. Studies have revealed that children who feel torn between parents in conflict are the least able to cope well with a split.
  • Change – By maintaining routines and stability children can thrive, so the minimisation of change is important. Rules should be consistent in both households and if change is inevitable, such as a new partner or change of address, warning children in advance and being open and honest with them is paramount. Trying to understand and respect the children’s feelings towards change, however difficult it may be, will ultimately help their adjustment.
  • Cash – Research suggests that children appear to do best when the standard of living in both parents’ homes is similar. If one parent gives out expensive gifts and luxuries while the other struggles to run a home, it can be emotionally very difficult for the child. Fairly evaluated child maintenance is key in this issue, as is the upkeep of any payment schedule.

Healys divorce solicitors in Brighton can help couples seeking amicable divorce
We approach all family issues with an amicable, constructive and conciliatory view, yet strive to ensure that our clients’ interests and those of their children come first.

The family law team at Healys are all members of Resolution and count among them a number of members of the Law Society’s Family Law Panel.

For more information on the service we provide, please contact Catherine Taylor on 01273 669 124 or email for Brighton. For London please contact Jane Sanders on 020 7822 4107 or email