There are many reasons why divorce can make you nervous. You might be struggling with the thought of transitioning to life on your own, or you might be worried about the financial outcome of your marriage dissolution’s property division process. But if you have kids, then your primary concern is probably how the divorce is going to affect your kids.
This is a delicate issue that needs to be handled properly. While that means trying to obtain a child custody and visitation arrangement that puts your children’s best interests first, it also means trying to minimize the emotional impact divorce can have on your children. That starts with how you break the news to them that you and your spouse are going your separate ways.
Many people dread telling their kids about divorce. But there’s no way around. The news is going to have to be broken one way or another, so you should try your best to control the situation so that you can protect your children as best as possible. Here are some ideas about how to do that:
- Plan to tell your children with your spouse: The fact of the matter is that you and your spouse are probably going to have to work together to co-parent your children, even post-divorce. So you should try to work cooperatively together at this point to try to set the stage moving forward. This will also give your children more of a sense of stability if they can recognize that you’ll still be a family unit to a certain extent, even if you’re not together anymore.
- Don’t play the blame game: Even if your spouse really is to blame for your marriage’s failure, don’t lay that issue on your children. It will only create bitterness between you and your children’s other parent and cause confusion, anger, and maybe even trauma with regard to your children. Remember, you’re trying to protect your children, not show who was right and who was wrong.
- Have a plan for what to say: Know how you’re going to approach the topic of divorce. You should try to speak to all of your children at the same time and plan to provide reassuring thoughts such as the fact that you and your spouse will always love them and that you’ll always be a family. You can also identify things that won’t change after the divorce, which can provide your children with some much needed stability.
- Expect a wide array of emotions: Your children will probably experience every emotion you can think of. They’ll be mad, confused, sad, and frustrated. Be understanding of those emotions and let your children feel the way they do. After all, their emotional ride is their way of finding acceptance.
- Be open and honest: There’s no doubt that your children are going to have a lot of questions. Not all of them will be easy to answer. But you should try to do your best to be open and honest with your children, even encouraging them to ask questions. This can help them gain understanding and work through their feelings.
There’s no official playbook when it comes to breaking the news of divorce to children. After all, no one knows your children like you do. But, if you follow the steps mentioned above, you might be able to dampen the impact the news can bring.
Another way to make breaking the news easier is to have some sort of plan in place for child custody and visitation. Of course, you might not want to address this issue until you get your children’s input, but having some sort of idea might help give you children a sense of how things are going to play out. This can be helpful because children fear the unknown.
So, if you think that you and your family can benefit from negotiating a child custody arrangement, then it might be time to speak with an experienced family law attorney. Even if you anticipate your child custody case being litigated, it’s probably wise for you to discuss these matters with an attorney of your choosing.