Divorce is a difficult time for spouses, but it can be an especially troubling time if there are children involved. Telling your kids about the divorce might be one of the most trying experiences you ever face and, while you likely disagree with your soon-to-be ex-spouse on several things, you both want what is best for your child and should try to come together on how to approach this very delicate matter. Remember, this is a conversation your children will likely never forget, so make sure you conduct it in a way that does not leave a painful memory.
- Be United: This is a task for both parents, so this is not the time to sit out a conversation because of your differences. Have a conversation with your children together and explain the situation. You do not need to go into great detail and, in fact, you should not. This is not about placing blame for the divorce on anyone, but rather a chance to tell your kids that things are about to change. If your children see the anger and bitterness between the two of you, it can harm the level of confidence they might feel in what you are saying. They will not believe that you are working together as a team.
- Address the Whole Family: Parents sometimes speak to each child separately, but most experts agree that it is best to talk to all of your children at once. An exception would be for bigger age differences, or if you are concerned that a younger child might be more upset and less able to cope than an older child.
- Have a Plan Ready: Never go into this conversation blind. Preparing what you will say, and going over key points when your spouse will help present a united front with a clear message. For example, you want to make sure your kids understand the divorce was not their fault and that, despite the changes, you both still love them and nothing will ever change that. Explain that you are simply having problems that cannot be fixed. You might not be husband and wife anymore, but you will always be their parents.
- Expect a Variety of Reactions: Depending on their age, kids can react in a variety of ways. This news might elicit tears and yelling, but it could produce more egocentric concerns, which is also natural. Children are often worried about the immediate impact this might have on their lives. For example, they might wonder if they have to switch schools or if they can still visit their friends. Since no one knows your children better than you do, it is up to you to discern what might be a normal reaction. Read their cues to determine if they need space, or simply a reassuring hug.
- Be Open to Questions: Make sure you schedule this discussion at a time that leaves ample opportunity for your children to ask questions. Given the gravity of this news, they will likely have many concerns, so speaking to them before you have to go to work, or prior to dropping off at school, robs them of that chance. You should also expect this to be the first of many discussions you will have with them as they take the time to process everything that was said. Be ready for these follow-up questions and always be available to address their concerns. If you think divorce is hard, imagine what it is like for them.
San Diego Divorce Lawyers
Whether you have already been served divorce papers, are considering the idea of filing for divorce, or are already in the midst of navigating through the process, the San Diego divorce attorneys at Cage & Miles, LLP are here to help guide you through your steps. We understand that divorce is a contentious time and that even the most amicable situations can turn sour. Our skilled legal team is devoted to representing the interests of our clients in a way that limits court involvement and minimizes litigation exposure. The right attorney at your side can make all the difference in family-related legal matters, so you should not trust your divorce case to just anyone.
We can represent a wide range of divorce matters, including contested and uncontested divorce, high net worth divorce, child custody and support, spousal support, mediation, property division, and military divorces.
Call us today at (858) 943-2060 and request a confidential consultation to discuss your case.