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Bartinik Law Firm, PC

Q
Divorce and children-what and when to tell them.

A

Children must be told about the divorce. This will be very difficult for your child, but avoiding the issue will only make things worse. Studies show that children living is a tension filled home are worse off than children living in a peaceful divorced home. It is important not to fight in front of your child. No matter what their age, children need to know about the divorce as it will significantly change their lives. They need to know what is going on.

When talking with your children about the divorce, never cast blame for the divorce on one parent. This will make the child feel like they need to take sides. Second, make it clear that the child is not to blame for the divorce. The child might feel somewhat responsible. You must make it clear that the child is not responsible for the divorce. Third, tell them at a time when they will have enough time to reflect, and digest the decision. Also, tell them at a time when you will be there to provide emotional support for them. For example, on a Friday at the start of a long weekend would be appropriate. Fourth, you should tell them what they should expect in the future. For example, will they be changing homes, or schools. Fifth, the children do not need to know the dirty details that may have led to the divorce. They might ask “why” but are really asking “why is this happening to me.” Answer by explaining the fact that married people sometimes get divorced, and reassure them about their future arrangements, and that both parents will work together to make sure that it will be a smooth transition.

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