Your children are pretty perceptive and they may be painfully aware that your marriage is in trouble, but that does little to prepare them for your decision to seek1. Informing Children about Your Divorce a divorce. They may have friends whose parents are divorced, and have a basic understanding of what it means. But you need to sit down with them and carefully explain what’s happening and what it will mean. Here are the important steps in informing your children:
Try to Find the Best Time, But Understand That There Will Never Be a Perfect Time
Don’t ever say anything to your children until a divorce complaint has been filed. The worst thing you can tell your children is that “mommy and daddy might be getting a divorce.” That will leave your children in limbo, and they may try to figure out what they can do to prevent it from happening (they will likely try that anyway, but leaving things up in the air is particularly hard for them). The less time kids know about the impending divorce, the less time they will have to fret about it.
Don’t tell your children when you don’t have time to answer their questions and be with them. Don’t do it just before bed or when your child is about to head out the door for school or practice. They’ll need time to process it and you need to be there in the early stages.
Tell Your Children Together
If only one of you tells the children, that person will be perceived differently by the children, either as the victim or the perpetrator. In addition, if you tell the children separately, you will inevitably tell different versions of the story, which will serve to confuse the children.
Keep It Simple
Your children will want to know the reasons, but it’s counterproductive to start allocating blame in front of your kids. It’s best to say that “mommy and daddy believe that it’s best if they don’t live together anymore. Be ready to tell your children where they will live and what visitation will look like, so they don’t worry that they won’t see one parent anymore (this is especially important with small children).
To schedule a free, 30 minute telephone consultation to discuss your concerns, send us an e-mail or call our office at 201-343-0078. All calls and e-mails are returned within 24 hours. We’ll be at your side every step of the way.