BREAKING THE NEWS TO YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT YOUR DIVORCE
Divorce is a challenging process for children, let alone adults. When children are involved the divorce process has the potential to become more complicated and challenge parents face is understanding and dealing with your child’s emotions. The following are some suggestions on how to inform your children about your forthcoming divorce:
· If you plan on breaking the news about your divorce, work on what you plan to say to them together, even if you have to write it down and eventually read it to them. Writing down what you plan to say is a great way to make sure you don’t forget anything in case you are too emotional or distracted to focus on what you’re saying.
· If you have more than once child it is best to break the news to them jointly rather than separately. To them, it will make it seem fairer and they will not feel as if one child has preferential treatment over the other.
· If possible, break the news with your spouse also present.
· Find the right time to let the children know. Try not to break the news if your child has a special event approaching, such as vacations, holidays and birthdays. In addition, it is best to wait if they are soon to be taking a test or school exam.
· When having the initial discussion try not to get emotional about your child’s reaction.
· We understand it is easier said than done, but try to make sure the child is being listened to and that their feelings are not being minimized.
· Do not show anger or contempt towards your spouse.
· It is important to stress that the divorce is no the fault of your children and that your spouse and yourself decided as adults that it’s time to move on.
· Be clear with your communication. Let them know that you’ve already exhausted your resources and yourselves to keep the marriage alive and have decided that it’s time to move on. Be clear that you are not “taking a break” and that this is a final decision.
· Contrary to popular belief, it is not suggested to tell your children that “mommy and daddy still love each other.” This could create a sense of false hope. Instead keep the focus on your children and mention that both you and your spouse still love your children very much.
If you follow these steps when breaking the news to your children the news may be better received. Know that divorce is a process and that there should be a plan post-divorce for not only yourself and your finances but also for your life after divorce, including life after divorce for your children. If you feel you need to, please do not hesitate to contact Patricia S. Fernandez Family Law for more information.
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