Getting a divorce is an emotional experience not only for you and your spouse, but for your other family members as well, especially your children. How should you and your soon-to-be former spouse go about breaking the news to them? This will be one of the most important conversations you have with them, given the potential lasting impact it could have now and in the future, so it is crucial that you properly prepare and plan for it. Of course, this is likely a first-time experience for you, so you might not even know where to begin.
We have compiled a list of tips you can keep in mind as you approach this very sensitive conversation:
- Present a united front: You and your spouse are probably not on the best of terms if you are in the process of dissolving your marriage, but it is important that you set your differences and unresolved issues aside for the benefit of your children. Remember, this conversation is about your relationship with them rather than the problems that drove you and your spouse toward divorce, so keep the focus on them to avoid any arguments during this conversation. The last thing you want to do is end up pointing fingers at one another. The point of presenting a united front is so they understand that, despite the divorce, you will still both continue to love and support them.
- Plan what you will say: This is not the kind of conversation where you want to improvise. It is crucial that you plan out what you would like to say and the messages you want to emphasize. For example, one message you will want to drive home is that you both still love them very much and the status of your marriage will not impact that love. You should also make sure that they understand the divorce was an adult decision that they did not influence. Children often feel as though they are to blame for their parents’ divorce, so you will want them to fully comprehend that this was completely out of their hands.
- Expect mixed reactions: Just as you should appropriately prepare for what you are going to say during this discussion, it is important that you are ready for any number of reactions from your children. Some kids break out into tears, some get angry, and others might not have an immediate reaction at all. Younger children are particularly egocentric and might only ask how this situation will specifically affect them. Whatever the reaction is, be prepared to read their cues to determine what you need to do next to make coping with this information easier on them.
- Be open to answering questions: They might not ask you any questions right away, but once they have some time to process the fact that their parents are getting a divorce, they will likely start asking you quite a few questions and it is important that you are open to answering them honestly. If you do not know the answer to something, simply tell them that you will tell them as soon as you know it. Whatever you do, do not make promises you cannot keep or lie to them. Trust is important and, while you do not need to provide all the details about the divorce process, you can tell them anything that might be pertinent to them, such as whether or not they will stay at the same school. Keeping an open dialogue even after the initial discussion is important, so always be prepared to engage in further discussions with your children.
- Timing is everything: Lastly, timing is everything, so make sure you have this discussion with your children on a day when they will have time to mull over what has been said. Do not tell them before bedtime or as you are dropping them off at school. Maybe this will be easier for you since it means you will not have to deal with any questions or reactions afterward, but you will be doing a great disservice to them by robbing them of the chance to talk more about it with you.
Speak to a Compassionate Family Law Attorney in Denver Today!
If you and your spouse are no longer able to make your marriage work and are ready to dissolve it, you will need a skilled family law attorney on your side to help guide you through this emotional and complex process. At Denver Family Lawyers, our family law attorney is backed by over two decades of legal experience, which he will use to your advantage. You should not have to go through this experience on your own.
Begin your divorce case today and reach out to our law firm at (303) 225-3343 to schedule a free initial case review.