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Divorce: 5 tips for telling your children

Posted on June 19th 2018

Getting divorced can be a difficult time for everyone involved in the break-up.

Telling your children can feel particularly hard, especially if your children are very young. If you have children of any age, this article discusses how you can reduce the distress and confusion they may feel during this transition period.

  1. Make sure the decision is final

You should always ensure that the decision to end your relationship is completely final before discussing it with your children. If you change your mind at a later date this could upset and confuse them. If you and your partner are unsure about divorce, we would always advise against telling your children that you are, “thinking of getting a divorce.”

  1. Make sure the time is right

Do not speak to your children about divorce when you are feeling particularly upset or angry about the situation. Divorce is an emotive decision, but be careful not to let your emotions cloud your judgement when it comes to your children. It is important to tell them when the decision is concrete, and when you have had time to reflect on what it is appropriate to disclose to them. It is also important that you do not let your emotions encourage you to blame the other person, or pressure your children to pick a side.

When you do tell them, make sure you have a block of time free so that your children can react and ask questions. It could take an hour or more of discussion before your children feel comfortable. It is therefore unwise to tell them right before you are about to leave the house or go to bed, for example.

  1. Try to tell them together

If it’s possible, it is a good idea for you and your ex-partner to talk to your children about your separation together. This demonstrates that both of you made and agree on the decision, and avoids blame being placed by the children on the person who delivers the news. It also reassures children that you can co-parent without being a couple.

  1. Avoid placing blame

Unfortunately in the UK, divorce law often pushes amicable couples to place blame on each other when they want to divorce. However, you should never place blame on your partner when discussing the divorce with your children. Importantly, you should avoid discussing infidelity or financial problems as these concepts can be upsetting.

Overall, you should remain neutral and unified in your message to your children. Explain to your children that you and your partner are separating because it is the best option for everyone.

  1. Be supportive of their reaction

Children react differently to the news of divorce. Some are relieved because it means that conflict within their home will reduce, whereas others may be very upset. It is important that you support your child’s reaction and answer their questions in a truthful manner.

How can we help?

Our expect Solicitors help families and couples through the divorce process every day. We even offer 10 minutes of free initial advice if you are unsure of your first steps. Speak to a Solicitor today by calling 01244 312306, or by filling in our contact form here.

Call and speak to a lawyer on 01244 312306