YOU BROKE THE NEWS TO YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT YOUR DIVORCE…NOW WHAT?
If you read our blog from earlier this month, “Breaking the News to Your ChildrenAbout Divorce,” you would have read that divorce is a challenging process for children, let alone adults. You would have also learned that you shouldn’t just “wing it” when breaking the news to your children about your divorce. Instead, you should have a plan and possibly even write down what you want to tell them. Now that you broke the news, what are the next steps? The following are some suggestions on how to help your children accept that your divorce is about to happen:
· Once your children have heard the news about your divorce, the next step is to allow your child a chance to absorb what they just heard and to also have a chance to speak. Believe it or not, many parents find breaking the news to their children the most challenging part of the divorce and end up speeding through the conversation without giving their children a real chance to pause, take it in, and share their initial thoughts and feelings.
· As discussed in the last blog, both you and your spouse should be present when breaking the news. This is important for another reason, it shows initiative and adds a sense of reassurance to your children that you’ve not only discussed filing for divorce, but also have a plan for your family and how things will be after the divorce. This is potentially a great opportunity to show that most of their routine will stay intact and some things may change in their schedule, but ultimately you will be able to see both parents and still continue to do the things they love to do.
· After the plan is thoroughly discussed, take another moment to see if they have thoughts about the situation. It’s ok if they don’t want to discuss but let them know you are making sure that both you and your spouse are giving them a chance to speak their mind. Sometimes there may be some questions so it is generally best to consider putting everything “on the table” for discussion.
· Lastly, you should never discuss specifics about your divorce proceedings in front of your children. For one thing, the court is yet to determine an outcome of how things will be resolved. In addition, discussing divorce specifics will add stress to your child and make the process more difficult for them. You should also not discuss anything financial, even if they ask something like “what happens to this…” Instead, mention both you and your spouse are still working things out and will consider whether or not they will discuss it after the divorce.
Children will be affected by the news of divorce differently. It’s hard to predict how they will react. There is no “set play” of how you can prepare yourselves for divorce, but keeping these suggestions in mind may help. If you feel you need to, please do not hesitate to contact Fernandez, Socci & Nieves Family Law for more information.
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