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How should you tell your kids about the divorce?

As a parent, you take on the responsibility and the challenge of finding the best way to guide your children through difficult situations. Even though you may have the ability to help your kids through predicaments that seem huge to them but minor to you, some issues can have significant burdens on everyone involved. One of those major issues relates to telling your children that their parents have chosen to end their marriage.

Because divorce can take a considerable emotional toll on you, you likely also worry about the effects the news will have on your children. Though a common concern, each set of parents may have a different way of addressing the situation that works best for their family. If you do not know where to start, you may wish to take certain aspects into consideration.

When and where

Because the memory of learning about their parents' divorce will likely stay with them for much of their lives, you may want to give particular consideration to when and where you tell your kids the news. This information may present a shock to them, and telling them at a time when both parents can answer questions and provide comfort may help lessen any upset that may come about.

Family gathering

If you have multiple children, you may think it better to tell your older children first and spare your younger kids the news for a little longer. However, this strategy can have some pitfalls. For instance, your older children now face the burden of having to keep the news secret, and younger children may feel put out by learning of the news later. Therefore, having the entire family together -- including both parents -- may help lessen the stress placed on any one child.

Gauge children's reactions

Everyone reacts to divorce in different ways, adults and children included. Paying attention to your children's reactions could help you better understand how you need to approach other topics and changes relating to the process. No matter how they react, you may want to present an accepting and comforting front in order for them to understand that you and the other parent still love them.

Custody terms

No matter how you choose to tell your kids about the divorce, you certainly want to keep their best interests in mind when it comes to custody agreements. This part of the process can prove difficult for many parents, and therefore, you may wish to assess your situation and determine what terms may work best for everyone involved. In many cases, parents can utilize co-parenting approaches that allow them to share in their children's lives as equally as possible.

In order to ensure that the terms you create work for your situation, you may wish to consult with an experienced California attorney. A legal advocate can offer advice on arrangements and terms and make sure that your agreements are legally binding.

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