It’s no secret that divorce can be very hard for children. That’s one reason that the California Family Code and California courts try so hard to ensure every ruling is done “in the best interests of the children.” But even though lawyers and judges are concerned about the effect divorce has on children, telling the kids about your divorce is ultimately up to you. To make things a little easier for you, we’re offering some tips.
Planning What You Say Could Calm Your Jitters.
It’s best not to just dive into a conversation that’s this important. So, spend some time working out what you plan to tell the kids and how. There’s an added benefit to planning ahead – sticking to your informal script could prevent either you or the children’s other parent from making ugly, inappropriate statements if your divorce is less than amicable. Letting the meeting turn into a screaming battle of wills certainly will not help your children deal with the divorce.
If Possible, Telling the Kids About Your Divorce Together Is Best.
It might seem odd but telling your kids about your divorce together presents a united front. Your kids will see that even though you and your spouse are splitting up, you can co-parent. After all, caring for your children during and after the divorce is one of your primary goals.
Specific Details Could Help Ease the Kids’ Fears.
Kids usually ask a lot of questions, even about things less important than your divorce. So, be prepared.
When telling the kids about your divorce, you might cover some of these topics:
- Why you decided to divorce. But be careful that your explanation doesn’t blame one parent for the divorce or cover subjects that kids shouldn’t hear about.
- Changes to your living arrangements. They’ll need to know which parent is leaving home. You might also tell them if they will have to move.
- A general timeline. Have you already filed for divorce, or are you filing soon? When will one parent leave the house? When will the children be able to visit with their non-custodial parent?
Cover specific details probably will help your kids cope with the changes in their lives.
Timing is Important, Too
When telling the kids about your divorce, it’s usually best to do so before they find out for themselves. Plan on having the talk as soon as possible after you and your spouse decide to end your marriage.
Also, consider the timing for the actual meeting. Try not to interfere with any of their regularly scheduled activities. And telling them right before bedtime won’t necessarily work for all children. Some might be so upset or keyed up that they will have trouble sleeping.
Perhaps you could have your discussion at a time that allows the kids to absorb the information without having to immediately deal with any other stressful events.
Reassurance is Key when Telling the Kids About Your Divorce
Finally, make sure your children understand that both parents still love them even though the marriage has ended. They need to feel safe and that their needs are still important. With a bit of work and planning, the parent-child bonds can be as strong as ever. In fact, the relationship might be stronger once marital discord is removed from the equation.
Telling the Kids About Your Divorce Is Up to You, But We Can Help with the Legal Stuff.
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger are experienced at all phases of divorce, legal separation, and annulment. Call us at 415-293-8314 to schedule a private appointment or visit our website. We assist clients along California’s Northern to Southern Coast, including San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Marin, San Jose, Gold River, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, and surrounding communities.