In most situations, your children should be among the first people to know you are divorcing. If you do not tell them yourselves, they might find out from someone else and take away a different message from the one you’d like to give.
There is no easy way to tell your children your marriage is over, but the following tips can help:
#1. Present a united front
Your children are far more likely to believe that everything will work out in the long run if you can manage to work together when explaining the situation. Be respectful of one another and model good behavior for your children. If you cannot even bear to be in the same room to tell them, they’ll know to expect problems. Additionally, doing it together reduces the chance of mixed messages that confuse the children.
#2. Do it step-by-step
You do not need to give your children all the information at once and they may never need to know all of the information. Discuss in advance with your spouse how much information you plan to share with the children, and when.
Discuss the matter gently, and tell them little-by-little. Bear their ages in mind too; a toddler will need a much simpler explanation than a 17-year-old.
#3. Focus on how it affects them
While it’s your divorce, the children’s lives are also going to be affected. They don’t need to know about who gets the cryptocurrency or how much support is being paid. They do need to know if they’ll still go to the same school and what will happen to the dog.
There are many family therapists that will work with parents to help craft age-appropriate, unified messages to present to the children. If you or your spouse have concerns about how to frame the next steps, or how to answer questions your children may ask, consider consulting such a therapist. Your lawyer will also have advice.
Divorce won’t be easy for your kids, but with the correct legal help, you can do your best to smooth the process from the moment you first announce your intentions.