Parents’ responsibilities

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The separation or divorce can be so overwhelming for some parents – the loss of a spousal relationship, money worries, moving households, and other details – that they lose sight of their obligations to their children. Being aware of your parental responsibilities at this time will help you handle many decisions involving your children.

Your parental responsibilities are to:

  • Take care of your children and keep them safe, even though one of you lives apart from the family.
  • Make sure that the children spend time with each parent, as well as other people who are important to them.
  • Listen to what your children have to say, even if you can't always do what they want you to.
  • Answer the children’s questions about money, where they are going to live, and so on, when they ask.
  • Talk to the other parent with respect in front of the children.
  • Talk to the other parent about the things that involve the children.

It is important to note that the rights and responsibilities of both children and parents require special consideration in situations of abuse or neglect. Ask a professional to help you decide on what is best for your children. For more information about getting help when there is abuse in the home, see Dealing with abuse in the home.