If you and your spouse are going through a separation or a divorce and share children, it will undoubtedly be harder on them than it will be on you. While you and your spouse are able to clearly understand why you must proceed with this course of action, your children will be confused and find it difficult to process this new, life-changing information. It is important for both you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse to unite as co-parents and to help your children cope with these impending changes.
Telling Your Children About Your Divorce
Of course, one of the first major steps you and your spouse will have to take involves breaking the news to your children. Below are some tips that can help assist you with this delicate conversation and its aftermath:
- Make a plan together: It is always best for divorcing parents to approach this conversation together, so plan ahead and choose a time when you will be in the right frame of mind to handle this without losing your temper. You and your spouse should also choose a time when there is nothing to do afterward, so your children have a chance to begin some dialogue, ask questions, and state their concerns.
- Reassure them of your love: Your children need to understand that, despite the changes occurring in your marriage, nothing will change about your role as parents. You will both continue to love and care for them and they will still be able to spend time with both of you.
- Make sure they understand: It is incredibly common for children to believe they are the cause of their parents’ divorce or separation, so make sure you drive the point home that this was an adult decision that was not remotely affected by anything they did or could have done. This will ease some of the stress or uneasiness they might feel about your decision to divorce or separate.
- Encourage them to talk: Your children might not want to talk about their feelings right away, but make sure they understand that you are there for them when they are ready to talk and that you would like to know what their thoughts and feelings are regarding these changes. Be available to answer any questions they might have and try to be as honest as possible.
- Tell them what they need to know: You do not need to tell your children everything about why you are choosing to divorce or separate. Tell them only what they need to know, such as whether or not one of you will soon be moving out and where. If you have an idea of how often they will be able to visit that parent, let them know. However, spare them any unnecessary details and never argue or blame one another in front of them.
Making the Transition Easier
To help make the transition easier, there are some takes you should take moving forward that will make these changes far less jarring for your children. This includes:
- Discuss visitation arrangements with one another before you try to make any promises to your children.
- Speak openly about how the family’s living arrangements will change once you have achieved a finalized plan.
- Keep routines as normal as possible to ensure your children feel safe and confident.
- Never speak negatively about the other parent to your children, extended family members, or friends.
- Be polite to one another when you are dropping off your children or picking them up from the other parent.
- Respect reasonable limits set forth by one another and try to never undermine each other’s authority, or this will cause a great amount of confusion for your child.
- Communicate with each other rather than using your children as messengers. If you are unable to effectively communicate in person, use other means, such as emails, text messaging, or phone calls.
- Always share important medical and school information with one another and, if possible, try to attend all meetings and appointments together.
Family Law Attorney in Louisville
If you and your spouse are getting a divorce or separating, you will need a skilled attorney to get you through this emotionally charged and complex process to ensure your interests are protected. At Louis P. Winner in Louisville, our family law attorneys have the skill, knowledge, experience, and compassion to help you effectively separate or dissolve your marriage.
Get started on your case today and contact our office at (502) 812-1889 to schedule a consultation with one of our divorce attorneys today.