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Planning Your Divorce Conversation with Your Children

Posted on in Children of divorce

Planning Your Divorce Conversation with Your ChildrenTelling your children about your divorce will be as difficult of a conversation for you as when you and your spouse first discussed divorce. Both are stressful and emotional, but your conversation with your children may be more upsetting for you depending on their reaction. Just as with your spouse, it will help to plan your conversation with your children. This will be a traumatic milestone in their lives, and you should avoid thoughtless mistakes that will make the experience worse than it needs to be.


You should tell your children about your divorce soon after you have made your decision, but a slight delay may be necessary to find an optimal time and place. Ideally, the conversation should:

  • Include both parents and all of your children together; and
  • Take place when none of you have any immediate responsibilities afterward, such as the beginning of a weekend.

Talking to your children together allows you to present a unified message about the divorce. Having all your children present avoids the appearance that you are favoring one of your children by telling him or her first. The conversation will be upsetting and distracting to your children. They will need time to process the news and continue to ask you questions.


You should frame your conversation around the facts that you will always love your children and the divorce is not their fault. Beyond that, your children will have several questions, such as:

  • Why are you getting divorced?;
  • Where will we be living?;
  • How often will we see each parent?; and
  • How will the divorce affect us?

Older children may have more specific questions on issues such as money. You should try to answer these questions as best you can but be honest when you do not know the answer.


You cannot predict how your children will emotionally react to the news of your divorce. You may expect them to cry or be angry, but some children become withdrawn and seemingly emotionless. You should allow your children to express how they feel without pressuring them to do so. The emotions of yourself or your co-parent may also surprise you. You may tear up yourself during the conversation. Explain to your children that this is a difficult decision and you feel sad about how it is affecting them.

Contact a St. Charles Divorce Lawyer

Dividing your parental responsibilities will be one of the most important parts of your divorce. A Kane County divorce attorney at Goostree Law Group can help you negotiate a parenting agreement. To schedule a free consultation, call 630-584-4800.


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