How to Deliver the News of Your Divorce to Your Children

Divorce can be difficult for everyone involved, and the process can be particularly challenging for children. When it comes to telling children about an impending divorce, parents can soften the impact of the news by taking into account several considerations.

Plan Ahead

Preparation is one key to telling your children about the divorce in a thoughtful, supportive and age-appropriate manner. Even though you and your spouse may be angry with each other, it is important to focus on the children and discuss together what you want to tell them. This helps avoid blaming and arguing during your discussion with your children, making the experience less traumatic for them.

Also, it may be beneficial to wait until you have some expectation of how your children's lives will change before telling them about your decision to divorce. The children will likely have many questions about where they will live, where they will go to school, how much time they will spend with each parent and other concerns.

Plan to emphasize what will remain the same for each child; many kids fear that a divorce will turn their worlds upside down. It is also important to tell your kids far enough in advance so there is ample opportunity for them to ask questions, process the information and speak with each parent while both are still at home.

Talking To Your Children

When you do disclose your divorce to the children, do it calmly and, if possible, with both parents present. Give a reason for the separation, tailored to the age and maturity of your children, and do not share adult details.

Emphasize to your children that they are in no way the cause of the divorce and that you both will continue to love them unconditionally. Children may react in many ways to the news — try to accept your child's reaction, whatever it may be, and remain open to answering further questions as they arise.

If you are considering divorce, contact a knowledgeable family law attorney in your area to learn more about the process and its impact on children.