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Explaining Divorce to Children

Posted on December 17, 2019

Nobody begins a relationship expecting it to end in divorce. Unfortunately, even when both people in a marriage have good intentions, relationships do not always work out. As adults we understand the compatibility issues, financial troubles, and disagreements that may ultimately lead a couple to divorce, but a child is usually left wondering what happened to their parents. Although every child’s needs are different, below we have provided a brief overview of how to explain divorce to children.

It’s not your fault

One of the most important things to emphasize to a child is that the problems you and your spouse are experiencing are not their fault. While this may seem obvious, children may of course blame themselves for fights and arguments between their parents. Try reassuring young children by explaining that you and your spouse have had many disagreements about what is best for the family, but the one thing they do agree on is how much you love them. Depending on the age of the child, you might provide more information about the conflicts that have led to your decision; however, it is important not to overshare.

We’ll always be your parents

Young children tend to view the world through concrete, self-centered terms – after all, their world is usually limited to their own household. When explaining divorce to a young child, try to emphasize that you and your spouse are choosing not to live together to reinforce that they are not being abandoned by one of their parents. Consistent care and reassurance will help restore normalcy to the family after a divorce. Furthermore, letting your children know that they can speak to either parent about their feelings will help to reassure them that they still have a family even if their parents live apart.

We will always love you

Again, this may seem obvious, but a child who has witnessed their parents’ anger and frustration may question whether they are loved. When you and your spouse explain divorce to your children, make sure to stress the love. Tell them that although things will be different – new routines, maybe a different house, etc. – you are still their parent and will help them get through the divorce.

Things will be okay

For young children, reassuring them that things will be okay during and after a divorce is essential. As mentioned above, young children tend to view the world in concrete terms so they will be less concerned about the logistics of a divorce and more concerned about where the pet will live. On the other hand, older children may have concerns about switching school districts, visiting the parent who will no longer live with them, etc. It is important to take time to listen and consider their concerns in order to reassure them that everything will return to normal eventually.

Let us answer your questions about divorce

Although there is no easy way to explain divorce to children, it is important for you and your spouse to sit down and explain that they will still be loved after a divorce. At the Law Office of Vivian I. Stark, P.C. Our NYC matrimonial lawyer can lift some of your burden by providing unparalleled legal counsel during divorce proceedings so you can focus on healing your family. If you would like to would like legal consultation regarding matrimonial and family law, call us today at (212) 349-1600 or contact us online.