If you and your spouse have reached a point of no return and are ready to break the news of divorce to your children, you must be prepared and take several factors into consideration before starting the conversation. Take the time to discuss the plan with your spouse and consider the ages of your children, the best time and day to tell them, and how to handle conversations following the initial discussion. Read the steps listed below and use what works for your family to have the most mindful conversation possible.
Steps to Break the News of Divorce
Before you and your spouse speak with your children about an impending divorce, review these steps to help you be prepared:
1. Mentally and emotionally prepare to be strong for your children. Keep your emotions in check prior to and during the conversation by grounding, or even by meditating before you start.
2. Schedule the time of day and block out the available time before and after the talk as dedicated to your children. Be prepared to give them time to process and come to you with questions. Consider having a weekend free for this discussion, knowing that this is a pivotal time in the lives of your children. They will most likely remember this talk for the rest of their lives if they are old enough to comprehend what is happening.
3. Have a united front. Telling your children about the divorce together will help to let them know that even though you will not be together anymore, it does not mean that you will not be working together as parents and that you both still put the children first. Most importantly, it shows that you both love them and respect them enough to do this together.
4. Explain your plans to the children so that they do not feel left in the dark. If you or your spouse already arranged to move out right away, or if you have figured out that you are living together for a little while, let the children know. Keep them in the loop as things progress. Knowledge of the details (not the arguments) can help them find a semblance of peace.
5. Attune to your children’s feelings, pay attention to tone and inflection during the talk. Try to keep any anger between you and your spouse out of the conversation, as your children will pick up on it.
6. After the conversation, offer to speak with your children together and separately as the day unfolds. Set conflict aside for that day or two and remain available in the same place if possible so that your children do not feel pressure to pick sides.
7. Offer outside support. Sometimes children need to talk to someone other than you and your spouse to process the news. Consider having a family friend, trusted neighbor, or even a counselor come over after your talk to be there for the children to vent or ask questions.
At Law Offices of Sandra M. Radna, P.C., we understand that divorce is not easy. We know that this is a time of mourning for the hope that you had for your relationship, and we are here to support you through the legal process. Our divorce attorneys can help you with child custody and support, alimony, and the divorce process. Let us handle the legal issues so that you can focus on being there for your children through this transition.
We’re here to listen.
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