The decision to get a divorce is a heavy one, especially if you have children. Divorce has a significant impact on kids, so it’s important to take the time to talk to them about it, even if you are having a difficult time emotionally. The way you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse approach this challenging conversation will affect how the children cope with the decision, so it is crucial to prepare adequately.
Remember that You Will Need to Co-Parent
While it can be extremely challenging to spend time with your spouse, you need to make sure you are both on the same page, as you will have to continue to co-parent after the divorce. Go over what will be discussed. You should both pledge to treat each other with respect throughout the process because your kids will model your behavior and it’s vital that they have the right ideas about how relationships should work – even when they’re ending.
Choose the Right Time to Have the Talk
Springing such big news on your kids when they have to go to school the next morning or have somewhere else to be later that day is not ideal. Choose a Friday night to talk so that they will have time to process the decision and ask questions if they need to. You should also be sure to do it a few weeks before the two of you separate, so they do not have to deal with the trauma of one parent moving out immediately after they hear the news.
Finding the Right Things to Say
Your kids do not need to know the specific details about why you are divorcing – a simple “sometimes things don’t work out” should be sufficient for their curiosity. The most important things to tell them are that it isn’t their fault, that you both love them unconditionally, and that they will be able to spend time with each parent after the divorce. They need to know that you will both continue to be loving parents to them and that they did not influence this decision in any way.
Do you need help with your divorce? Contact our Jacksonville family law firm today at (904) 356-5336 and work with an experienced family law attorney.