Telling Your Kids about Your Divorce
It’s the moment that every divorcing couple dreads—telling their children that they’re planning to divorce. While there may be no way to make the conversation entirely painless, going into this conversation with a plan can help minimize any harm caused by the discussion. Below, find some suggested methods for reducing the stress of this conversation, both for you and your children.
Choose the right time to have the conversation
Many parents rightly seek to find a time to tell their kids when the children won’t immediately have to go to school. However, this often results in parents telling children on breaks from school, frequently holidays, which can taint not only that year’s celebration but also those of subsequent years. Consider choosing a Saturday afternoon, when children will have several waking hours to process the news and won’t have to rush to school.
Make a written plan
If possible, meet with your spouse to write out what you plan to say to your children when you tell them the news. Having some written notes will help you stay on track and avoid being overwhelmed with emotion. Doing this with your spouse will allow you to get on the same page about how you intend to present this information to your children. If your spouse declines to do this with you, consider sending them a draft of what you plan to say anyhow to show them how you plan to carry out the talk.
Plan for questions your children are likely to ask
Discuss how you plan to answer some of the tough questions your kids might ask after finding out about the split. Children, especially when younger, will probably have a lot of questions about how their lives will look going forward. Where will they live, and with which parent? Where will they spend the holidays? Will they need to move or switch schools? When children get older, they may have questions about why the breakup is happening. It is critical that you and your spouse don’t end up throwing blame at one another during this conversation. This is a time for you to reassure your kids that they’re going to have a loving relationship with both of their parents after a divorce, and that they won’t have to choose a side. You should also avoid using this conversation as a time to put your spouse on the spot about living arrangements or visitation.
If you’re planning to divorce, find a skilled and compassionate New Jersey divorce attorney to handle your case by contacting the Union offices of family law attorney John B. D’Alessandro for a consultation, at 908-964-0102.