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Strategically Overcoming
Complex Problems

How can you talk about divorce with your child?

You and your spouse didn’t think you’d split up, but after a short separation period, you both found that your lives were much easier without each other. You feel mostly amicable about the situation, and you’re happy to move on and to have them do the same.

One thing you both think will be difficult is telling your child about what’s going to happen next. How can you tell an elementary school-aged child that you’re planning to uproot them and change their entire life? Even if you and your spouse can get along, your child is sure to be surprised, confused and hurt.

How should you talk to your child about divorce?

One good way to approach it is with both of you standing as a combined front. Sit down together with your child and explain that you love them. Tell them that you’re both going to be there for them now and in the future, but that there are going to be some changes. Explain what those changes may be in an age-appropriate way. For instance, you can say that you and your spouse will now live in two homes, and your child will get to live in both for a few days each week (if that’s what you’ve decided on).

Be prepared for tears, confusion, anger or frustration. Children don’t always know how to express their emotions, so it’s important that you’re there to help guide them through this process.

In the meantime, your attorney can focus on helping your negotiate for a fair settlement, set up child support and work with other aspects of your divorce, so you have more time to talk with your child.