Talking to Your Kids About Your Divorce

If you’re getting a divorce, you may feel defeated, lost, and heartbroken. After all, you got married for a reason but now those reasons aren’t enough to keep your marriage going. The entire process can be demoralizing for you personally, but when you have kids the divorce process can also have some severe long-term impacts on them.

We recently talked about helping your children adjust post-divorce, but some of the healing can start with an honest conversation before the divorce is ever filed or finalized. It’s important to talk to your kids and let them know what their parents are going through. Obviously, discretion is key here as the age of your children may dictate their response, but we want to help you prepare for the conversation.

Be honest

It’s important to approach the situation as honestly as you can. You don’t want to confuse your children or send mixed messages as this will only prolong the situation and make it more stressful for them.

This doesn’t mean you need to give them every detail of your failed relationship, but you should be straightforward about the separation and what aspects of their lives will change now that their parents are separated.

Don’t lay blame

Even if you or your spouse think one of you is definitively at fault, it’s important not to play the blame game in front of your children. In most divorces, the children will maintain a relationship with both parents so you shouldn’t muddy the waters of those relationships by placing blame on either side.

This also applies to your children. You should make a concerted effort to help them understand that divorce is not their fault. Children of divorce may develop abandonment issues that impact relationships later in life if they’re given the impression the divorce is their fault.

Have a plan

The conversation is going to be a complicated one and it’s hard to predict how your kids will react. What’s important is to sit with yourself and consider what you want to say and how you want to say it before the conversation starts.

Going in with a plan will prevent you from losing the plot and can help guide the conversation in the direction you intend. You may consider talking to friends and family about the messaging or even consider working with your spouse.

A unified approach

Working with your spouse on these conversations may be difficult (or, in some cases, impossible). If you’re able to, it could be beneficial to have a conversation with your children with your spouse by your side. This will allow you both to answer any questions and helps them understand you’re both going to work together as their parents even when your marriage is over.

If you’re unable to have the conversation side-by-side, it would still be beneficial to talk to your spouse about what each of you will say in individual conversations. This will further prevent any confusion and will give your children closure instead of more questions than answers.

Consult with your attorney

Whenever you’re going through a divorce, it’s important to have the right attorney by your side. This is especially true when you have kids. It’s likely your divorce attorney has seen or heard about these conversations time and time again.

At KL Family Law, we focus on helping families move forward with compassion and integrity. Let us help you through this difficult time. Contact our offices today.

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KL Family Law

At KL Family Law, we understand that your primary concern is the well-being of your children. We strive to offer tailored solutions for your family law needs and help you move forward through this difficult transition.

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