Divorce is not an easy thing to cope with, even spouses. Reaching the decision to end your marriage is never easy, even though it is often necessary. If there are children involved, this situation can be even more challenging to deal with, especially since they are experiencing it from a different perspective and do not have the emotional maturity to fully understand why it is happening. All they know is mom and dad will no longer live together and it is an earth-shattering thought. You and your soon-to-be ex-spouse can soften the blow for them by breaking the news to them in a thoughtful and compassionate manner.
Here is what you need to know when it comes to telling your children about your impending divorce:
- Write down what you plan to say: This is a pivotal moment in the life of your children and they will likely remember it forever. Every word you use during this conversation will matter and have an immense impact on their lives, so choose them wisely. Write out what you plan to say and discuss it with your co-parent. Your marriage might be over, but you are still in this together as parents and being able to cooperate on making this discussion the best it can be will be your first test of civility during this emotionally charged time. However, if you cannot get your co-parent to work on drafting a script with you, you should still do one on your own. It does not mean you will follow it verbatim, but it will give you a road map to follow.
- Think about what your kids might ask: You cannot predict what your kids will ask, but you can guess. The better you are able to anticipate their questions, the better prepared you will be with the answers. Prepare simple and clear answers without getting too deep into the details. If your children are older, they might have more difficult questions and inquire why the divorce is even taking place. Be careful how you answer this type of question. Oversharing can turn into a messy blame game that will only be detrimental to your children. Keep the conversation focused on your children rather than on the problems you have with your spouse.
- Be smart about when you choose to tell them: The scheduling of when you tell your children about your divorce is almost as critical as the actual content of this conversation. Do not tell them before bedtime or before dropping them off at school. Why? It deprives them of the opportunity to ask any questions or have a meaningful dialogue that can help put their minds at ease. It might be easier on you and your co-parent to simply drop the news and avoid having to explain the situation, but it would be selfish and damaging to do such a thing. Be considerate and share the news with them on a Friday before the weekend, during a school break, or over a holiday. This will give them a chance to ask questions and process the information without having to worry about struggling through a day at school with the weight of this event burdening them.
- Stay united for your children: It might be difficult for you to do, but both you and your co-parent need to be present when your children find out about the divorce. It would not be fair to your children nor would it be fair for only one parent to bear the burden of delivering this news. It is also important for you both to do your best in setting aside your differences during this time. Fighting in front of your children as you tell them about the divorce will only make it harder on them. Remember, this is a life-altering moment for them that they had zero input in, so they are already feeling powerless and distraught. Do not add to it with petty bickering. Be sure to emphasize that although you will no longer be a couple, you are all still a family and you both still love them. More importantly, tell them this was not their fault. You might think this is safe to assume, but many children often feel guilty or responsible for their parents’ divorce, and believe that if they behaved differently or better, the divorce would not be happening. Reiterate that this was a decision between adults and nothing they did or could do would change it.
Going into this conversation prepared will help set the tone for how your family adjusts and copes with the changes that accompany the divorce, so make sure you consider every possibility before you have the talk.
Murrieta Divorce Lawyer
At Westover Law Group, our Murrieta divorce attorney understands that you and your family are in need of dependable legal representation. We are led by a Certified Family Law Specialist by the California Board of Legal Specialization, which means you will receive the legal guidance of an attorney who has gone through rigorous training that only the top 3% of attorneys have received.
Our firm will always keep you updated on case developments, help you seek resolutions in a non-confrontational and private manner, prepare legal documents and inform you of your rights and options, and handle all divorce-related issues pertaining to your children and property.
Contact us today at (951) 643-0085 to speak with a trusted member of our Murrieta legal team.