You will never be faulted in the separation situation if you tell your children the truth. Very often with young children they may feel that they are the cause of the dispute between the parents. It is important to reassure them that what goes on between their parents has nothing to do with themselves as children and both of their parents still love them as much whether they live together or apart.
The living arrangements will be central to the children’s lives where separation takes place. If it is the situation that the father moves away from the family home and the wife and the children stay there then the disruption to the family life may be limited. However it depends on the age of the children, it depends on the financial realities of the family as to how much distress to separation causes.
Obviously if neither parent is talking to each other and communicate only through third parties such as lawyers then this will show in the children’s lives. Although it is not easy to consider discussions must still take place between parents as far as the welfare of their children is concerned. At best the children should be insulated as far as possible from all arguments dispute and court proceedings. It is not a good idea to use the children as a weapon against the other side. Any effort to restrict access to the children for selfish reasons will ultimately affect their upbringing.
Similarly as far as maintenance payments are concerned. It is not a good idea to deny the children access to their parent because maintenance payments are not been made. It is better to take an application to the appropriate court to get an order compelling payment. Where a couple are living together and not actually married the eyes of the law the same situation exists.
Fathers now have automatic Guardianship rights. You still need to go to court to arrange access to their children if it cannot be agreed between the parties. Particularly with young children court will see what is in their best interest rather than the parents. If all parents live some distance away from each other and a lot of transport is involved then the judge will have to consider what is the most practical solution to allow access but bearing in mind the age of the child or children.
A judge may feel that outside report is necessary before a decision can be made and what is the best interests of the child sometimes deserves a call for by a judge and the HSE can be asked to provide a report on the family situation giving some background to the judge to allow a fair and proper decision be made.
No situation is perfect.
A judge will always act to protect the interests of the child or children as a priority.
In summary very often if a parent feels the children are in any danger or under any distress as a result of the separation of the parents the court is always willing to listen to concerns and see if they can be assisted in any way in the upbringing of the children.