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How to Tell Children You’ve Decided to Divorce

Posted in Divorce, Family Law on Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021

There is no easy way to tell your children about an Illinois divorce. However, with planning and foresight, an extremely difficult situation can be managed in a way that helps your children begin to understand what is happening to them. The breakup of your marriage affects your children as much as it impacts you.  If you need additional guidance regarding the divorce process and what it might mean for your family, do not hesitate to contact an Illinois divorce attorney.

How parents speak to children about the divorce depends on their age. Obviously, the way that you speak to a five-year-old will be different than a teenager. Nonetheless, the guiding principles are the same regardless of the children’s age. Try to be unified, civil, and calm because your children can sense what is happening.

Plan the Conversation Beforehand

Even if both parents are involved in a bitter situation, they need to put things aside for long enough to get this conversation right. As parents, you should talk to each other to plan this conversation. Having a script and sticking to it will better get across your information in a planned way. Off-the-cuff statements will end up sending the wrong message that contradicts what you should be saying. 

The best scenario is when both of the divorcing parents are able to tell the children together. This shows a united front to the children and helps their well-being. Divorce is traumatic, and it is best if the children hear about it at the same time together from both parents. There should be one initial conversation, even if your children are different ages. 

Speak Calmly and Present a United Front

Both parents should speak calmly to the children and show no evidence of tension. At first, they should give the children basic facts about the separation. However, at no time should parents give children details about what led to the divorce. There should be no blame in this conversation, no matter how much a parent wants their children to know what really happened. 

By the time you have the conversation, you should know the rough outlines of the changes that the children will face. While you would most likely not have a custody agreement, you will know some details of the short-term changes. You should share these with the children when you have the first discussion.

Most important, you should allow the children to react as they feel when they hear the news. While you may not want to see your child cry, you should be prepared for it. At the same time, your child may be stoic and not say much. While you should give them a chance to ask questions if they want, you should also allow them to process things and speak on their own schedule. 

Contact a Joliet Divorce Attorney

When children are in the picture, you will need a custody agreement. Contact the Joliet divorce lawyers of  Sabuco Beck, P.C. to schedule your initial consultation. Let us put our more than a century of combined legal experience to work for you and give you peace of mind knowing that strong lawyers are in your corner. 

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