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How to Tell Your Children About Your Divorce

If you and your spouse are getting a divorce, this is likely a difficult time for you, even if you are the one who initiated it. The fact is that no one gets married with the expectation that it will one day come to an end, so this is probably a big disappointment for you. If you share children with your spouse, you can bet it will be even harder for them to cope with this news and, as parents, it is your responsibility to ensure you break the news to them in the best way possible. This will undoubtedly be one of the most difficult conversations you have, so we have compiled a list of tips to help guide you through it.

Before you sit down with your children to tell them about your impending divorce consider incorporating the following into your approach:

  • Tell them together: As soon as you are certain that you and your spouse are headed for divorce, you should begin planning on how to tell your children about it. Oftentimes, parents wait too long before they have this conversation and the kids end up figuring it out for themselves. You need to help your children cope with the coming changes, so do not put off having this important conversation. Additionally, you should do what is necessary to ensure you break the news to your children together, presenting a unified front. Keep in mind that this conversation is not about what went wrong in your marriage and neither of you should play the blame game. No matter how bad things are between the two of you, remember that you still need to look out for the best interests of your children, so get it together and approach this as a team. It will be a great comfort to them and ease some of their anxieties.
  • Tell them when nothing else needs to be done afterward: Timing is everything when you have this conversation with your children, so plan to tell them when there is enough time afterward for questions and reactions. Telling them before you drop them off at school or before bedtime are both unfair to them since both of these options will give them little to no time to ask any questions. Instead, plan to tell them before a weekend. This will give them a couple of days to process everything and time to think of any questions they might want to ask the two of you. It will also lessen the likelihood of them acting out at school the next day since they will have had some time to really think about what you discussed.
  • Be honest: It is unnecessary to get into the nasty details of your divorce, but it is still important to be honest with your children. If they ask you a question, be honest. Otherwise, the consequences of them finding out the truth later could make things worse. If your children ask why the two of you are getting a divorce, do not take this as an opportunity to bash one another. Instead, explain that it was an adult decision and that you tried to make it work, but could not. Just make sure they understand that they did not have any impact whatsoever on your decision to split up. If your children have any questions regarding the future and how much time they will be able to spend with you and their other parent, be honest if you know the answer. If you still do not have an answer, tell them you do not know yet, but will tell them as soon as you work out an arrangement. The important thing is to not make any promises that you know you cannot keep.
  • Be prepared for a variety of reactions: No two children are alike, so you cannot expect all of their reactions to be the same. Depending on their age, gender, how well they understand the situation, and numerous other factors, your children’s reaction to your divorce can range anywhere from despair or anger to guilt. Whatever their reactions are, let them express themselves. Let them know that it is natural to have these emotions and that you are having a difficult time as well.
  • Listen to them: Children are not always direct when they voice their concerns, so it is important to listen for any hidden messages in their questions. They might be worried if the divorce was their fault or wonder if you will always love them, so make sure that, in addition to answering their questions honestly, you reassure them that you love them and will never leave them.

Lastly, make sure you are available in the coming days and weeks to address any follow-up questions they might have that they did not think of at the time of the conversation. Once your children have time to process the information you told them, they will take some time to mull it over and come up with more questions as time passes. Be ready to answer them honestly and always give your children the opportunity they need to express themselves.

Family Law Attorney in Columbus

If you and your spouse are moving forward with a divorce, you need to seek the skilled legal assistance of an experienced family law attorney. At Elizabeth Warren, Esq. LLC, our team is here to provide the knowledgeable and compassionate guidance you need during this undoubtedly difficult time. Too much is at stake to take on this complex legal matter on your own, so do not hesitate to contact us for the help you deserve.

Get started on your divorce case today and call our law firm at (614) 907-4771 to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help you. You should not have to go through this experience alone.