How Do I Tell My Kids?

No parent enjoys delivering sad news to his or her kids. While you and your spouse see the rationale behind your divorce, your kids may be especially sensitive to your decision. They may not even understand enough to be aware of the changes. Despite the difficulties ahead, your children deserve to be informed that their mother and father will no longer be living together.

At the law offices of Kathleen J. Smith, we can help you plan your conversation so that you do not go into it feeling uncertain. For more than 20 years, we have helped divorcing couples with children and we understand the common concerns that arise.

When you work with us, you can expect that we will prioritize the best interests of your children. To reach out for a consultation with a knowledgeable lawyer, call us at 707-387-0668. From offices in Santa Rosa and Sonoma, we serve clients throughout the region.

Planning The Conversation With Care

Breaking the news to your children about your divorce requires careful planning. Whether your children will have emotional reactions or remain unaware of their new reality, it is important that they continue to feel loved and supported by you and your co-parent. To ensure this, it can be helpful to take note of the following practices:

  • Portraying that you and your co-parent are on the same page
    When both parents appear to be on the same page about pursuing a divorce, it minimizes how dramatically your children perceive the news. This gives them less of a reason to assume that one parent is the bad guy, filing for divorce against the other parent's will. At the same time, assure your children that your decision has nothing to do with them and that your united front is not misperceived as a scolding or as blame.
  • Choosing the right time
    Keep in mind that a decision as serious as divorce should not be mentioned in passing or right before someone needs to leave for an appointment. Try to avoid breaking the news during or close to a traditionally joyous event, such as a birthday, graduation ceremony or holiday. While there is no perfect time to deliver bad news, some moments are certainly much better than others, and it is important to ensure that your kids feel safe.
  • Keeping in mind what not to say
    While you want to clearly communicate the decision to pursue divorce, there are certain details about the process that do not have to be disclosed to your children. For example, if the divorce was motivated by infidelity, this information may be too difficult for your child to process in addition to learning about the divorce alone. You and your co-parent should plan around your children's sensitivity so that they do not process more information than they are ready for.

Guidelines for respectful communication with kids about divorce are important. We can provide you with a list of recommended rules to follow.

Reach Out To A Family Law Attorney

We are dedicated to helping children feel as comfortable and secure as possible during the difficult experience of a divorce. To arrange a confidential consultation with an experienced California family law attorney, call our office or complete the online form.