Telling Your Children You Plan to Divorce

If you and your spouse have decided to split, you know that there are many practical considerations that must be dealt with. You need to work out living arrangements, ensure that bills are paid on time and divvy up household expenses. If you are a parent, however, the most important thing you have to do is break the news of the divorce to your children in a way that is both informative and compassionate.

Oftentimes, parents forget that they are not the only ones suffering; they either don't want to see that their decisions are hurting their children or they just get caught up in their own worries. The divorce process must be handled in such a way that the children are protected physically and emotionally. This can be done if parents proactively keep their children's best interests at the forefront.

If parents keep a few helpful hints in mind, they can help ease their children's worries and make an upcoming separation easier for the children to accept. Whenever possible, parents should try to present a calm, united front to the kids and should share the responsibility for informing the children. Parents can make the discussion with the children easier by:

  • Speaking to the children only about the established decisions for how the separation will happen and that as other decisions are made, you will tell them (i.e., who will remain in the family home, a basic custody guideline, etc.). Seeking the advice of an experienced Texas family law attorney before making these decisions is essential in order to protect your legal rights and options.
  • Refusing to succumb to the temptation to "bad mouth" the other parent
  • Giving a high-level overview of the situation only; over-sharing intimate details of what caused the split (like one parent's infidelity or behind-the-scenes verbal abuse) can be very upsetting for children
  • Allowing the children the opportunity to ask questions about their changing home circumstances
  • Paying close attention to each child's reaction and respecting his or her emotional freedom - some kids may cry, some may get angry and some may isolate themselves; parents need to support each child in the way that is best-suited
  • Reminding the children that they did not cause the separation and that both parents still love them

If you or a loved one is divorcing, seek the assistance of a skilled and compassionate Texas family attorney in your area to learn more about your legal rights and options.