The divorce process is never easy. No matter what the circumstances are that lead to a couple’s divorce, both partners face significant lifestyle changes when they opt to end their marriage. If a couple has children, the children face life-altering changes as well.
It’s crucial that divorcing parents discuss their upcoming divorce with their children. Depending on their ages, the children will have questions, concerns, and emotional reactions to their parents’ news. Before you begin this difficult discussion, consider speaking with an experienced family attorney about your concerns.
Guidelines for Discussing Your Divorce With Your Children
Talk about the divorce in plain language and neutral terms. Don’t blame your former spouse or anybody else for your divorce, and don’t allow yourself to be blamed. If your children blame themselves, assure them that they did not affect your decision to divorce in any way. Remember to stay calm through this discussion and any subsequent discussion of your divorce. Your children are likely feeling a whirlwind of emotions at this time, and they need you to stay strong and provide guidance for them.
Allow your children to ask you questions and, if you can, try to answer them in an age-appropriate way. Tell your children if you or your spouse will move out of the family home and where they will live. The whole family will have to adjust to new living arrangements and visiting schedules. If you are not sure about the details of these living arrangements and your custody agreement yet, that is okay. It is important to keep your children involved as you work toward your final divorce settlement.
Unless there is a reason to prevent both parents from being present, such as incarceration or a restraining order, it is best if both parents are available to tell their children about their upcoming divorce. Call a family meeting in a secure, comfortable environment, like your living room or kitchen. All members of the family should be present for this discussion.
Empowerment Through Involvement
You can help your children feel empowered by keeping them involved with the divorce process. With older children and adolescents, ask for their thoughts about your divorce. Let them express their opinions to you and do your best to answer all their questions truthfully.
Remember to assure your children that you will always be there for them. Even though your marriage is ending, your family is forever.
Family Law Attorneys Are Here For You
At Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C., we put your family’s needs first. Our team of Oak Brook family law attorneys proudly serves families in DuPage County and can help yours through the divorce process as well. Give our Oak Brook office a call at (877) 889-4515 to discuss the next step for your divorce.