Two Houses, Two Homes: the importance of listening to your child's voice during a separation

Charles and Diana’s divorce and the four years of separation that led up to it was one of the most public family disputes seen in recent history. William and Harry experienced their divorce and conflict first-hand, and of course the tragedy of Diana’s death that then followed. It is for this reason that I am always keen to hear from them on these topics, since their personal experiences are real, recognised and relatable to many.

Since the release of the Netflix documentary ‘Harry & Meghan’, there has been a flurry of articles debating the intricacies, reasonings, and consequences behind it. My main takeaway, however, was the open discussion of their lived experiences of divorce, and how they found common ground in both being the ‘product of divorced parents’.

Reflecting on his experience, Harry remembered ‘being pulled from one place to another’ and the feeling when you’re ‘in one place longer than you want to be and you’re in another place less than you want to be’.

When making arrangements for your children, knowing where they want to be and what they feel comfortable with, will help guide your decisions. Even if their ideal situation is not practically possible, hearing your child’s voice will at least help you keep their best interests in mind.

When Meghan was a child, she shared her voice by writing a poem and I think it perfectly captures a lot of the emotions children can feel during and after divorce: tired, sad, jealous, insufficient.

Meghan’s poem (aged 12)

Two houses, two homes

Two kitchens, two phones

Two couches where I lay

Two places that I stay

Moving, moving here and there

From Monday to Friday, I’m everywhere

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that bad

But oftentimes, it makes me sad

I want to live that nuclear life

With a happy dad and his loving wife

A picket fence, a shaggy dog

A fire place with a burning log

But it’s not real, it’s just a dream

I cannot cry or even scream

So here I sit with cat number three

Life would be easier if there were two of me

Listening to and encouraging the voice of a child is incredibly important whilst going through a separation. Meghan’s poem is a poignant and powerful example of self-expression. Other ways you can include a child’s voice are:

  • asking them how they feel;
  • creating a safe space for them to talk with other family members;
  • arranging support through a play therapy – sometimes this is available at your child’s school; or
  • inviting them to child inclusive mediation.

We have lots of experts that will be able to give you advice on how you can include your child’s views and make sure their voice is heard through separation, so please get in touch with our team if you would like to know more.



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