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How do you handle it when the kids figure out a divorce is coming?

On Behalf of | Jul 1, 2023 | Child Custody |

Divorce can be a very emotional and difficult time. You likely can’t imagine how the news of your divorce is going to affect your children. You know you’re going to have to break the news to them eventually, but when?

Children are smart. They can often tell when something is troubling their parents. They may also hear something they shouldn’t have, such as their parents’ conversations about splitting up. If this happens, your children could catch you off-guard when they accuse you of hiding the impending divorce. What should you do if this happens? Here are some tips:

1. Be open and honest

Imagine that your children walked up to you right now and asked about your divorce. Your divorce is happening and now your children know about it, so there’s no use in hiding it anymore. It may be time to come clean about the divorce and talk about the future with your children. 

2. Talk as a family

You may want to sit your children down to have the conversation. It may also benefit to have their other parent in the room while you talk about this important matter. This is so there’s no confusion about the divorce and no one is wrongfully targeted.

3. What to say to your children

It may help your children to explain what will happen after the divorce. Perhaps your children will live with you or their other parent. Or, maybe your children will have to move to another school. Talking about these changes may help your children process what’s to come.

4. Answer questions 

Your children may ask why the divorce is happening. Many people are open about the cause of their divorce, but they often simplify details for their children to understand better. For example, you could say that you and their other parent had differences that just made it too hard to stay together. This avoids putting blame on either party.

5. Be proactive

You may find that being proactive and talking to your children now can help from having an unexpected crisis if they find out about the divorce before you tell them. This could give your children more time to process the news about your divorce and the changes that are coming.

If you’re going through a divorce and have children, it may also help to learn your legal rights for child custody plans.