As Raleigh divorce lawyers, we know that one of the toughest and most intimidating parts of the divorce process can be breaking the news to your children. While you can’t avoid that painful conversation, we did find this helpful article with five tips that can help make it go as smoothly as possible.
1. Choose a good time and place. If possible, both you and your spouse should be there when you tell your children you are getting a divorce. While it can be difficult for a busy family to find a chunk of time with no commitments, it’s important to free up at least a few hours for this conversation. Be sure to avoid holidays or other special occasions, since you don’t want your child to forever associate a special day with your divorce. It’s best to select a quiet, neutral location in your home, such as the dining or living area. This gives your children the option to retreat to their own room after you tell them the news.
2. Practice what you are going to say, and what you will not say. You and your spouse need to decide in advance what you will tell the children about your reasons for the divorce. Together you should determine what “adult information” you will not share with the kids. Because this is bound to be an emotional and difficult conversation, if at all possible you should rehearse what you’re going to say. It’s important that you use the word “divorce,” so the facts are completely clear and to avoid any confusion about what is happening.
3. Be prepared for any type of emotional reaction. As the article points out, your children have a right to their feelings, no matter what they are. Try to prepare yourself for any type of reaction from your children, especially if you think the news will come as a surprise to them.
4. Expect and prepare for the “Why?” questions. Taking into consideration the age and maturity level of your children, decide how you will answer and what details you will share. Some information, such as alcohol use and infidelity, should never be shared. As you prepare for this discussion, make sure you and your spouse agree on boundaries about what will be shared and when.
5. Make yourself available to your children for the rest of the day or the weekend. Ask them questions and let them know it is all right to share their feelings. Acknowledge that the divorce is a big change and reinterate that however they feel is okay. It may take some time for them to come to terms with the news, and it may be awhile before they want to talk, so try to remain available as much as possible over the following days and weeks.
Hopefully this advice will help ease the transition a bit for your family. Our goal as a legal team is to remove anxiety and distrust from the divorce process by giving you complete knowledge and control of the process and its costs. Contact us for more information.
Photo Credit: Dr. Abdullah Al-Naser