How to Handle a Divorce With Children: Understanding the Process

Roughly 40 to 50% of U.S. couples eventually get divorced. Even when you know you’re not the only one going through it, divorce can seem lonely and challenging. But going through a divorce with children can make you even more anxious. You’ll likely worry about how they’ll take the news and what type of reactions they’ll have as the divorce goes on.

Every child reacts differently, but a few basic methods of handling the divorce can help in most situations. Communication, reassuring your children, and creating stability can help your kids process the situation easier.

Check out these tips for dealing with a divorce with kids.

Explain the Divorce to Your Children

Telling your kids about your divorce is likely one of the things you dread most about the situation. You don’t want to hurt them or cause trauma. But you need to let them know what’s going on so they can process it and get help if needed.

Talk to your spouse to decide the best way to tell your kids, keeping their personalities in mind. Share the news honestly and at an age-appropriate level. Avoid placing blame on your spouse or anyone in the situation.

Let your kids know the plan for living arrangements. Reassure them that they’ll still get to see both parents. Ensure they know they aren’t to blame for the situation. Encourage your kids to ask questions. React with patience, empathy, and love to help them feel safe and comfortable talking to you about the situation.

Ensure Stability for Kids

Divorce naturally comes with lots of change for everyone. At least one person will move to a new location. If you sell your home, your kids have two new places to live. Despite the changes, you can offer stability, consistency, and routine to help your kids transition to their new living situation.
Create a custody agreement with a consistent schedule quickly so your kids know where they’ll be. Constant schedule changes or unpredictable visits from a parent can make it more difficult for your kids to adjust.

Work With Your Spouse

There’s a reason you’re divorcing your spouse, so working together may seem like the last thing you want to do. But your kids need you to work with your spouse. On a very basic level, it’s necessary to sort out the details of the divorce.

Keep the fighting and divorce details out of your conversations with your kids. They don’t need to know that you’re fighting about money, selling the house, or other adult topics. Your family law attorney can help with divorce negotiations and mediation to make those decisions easier.

Avoid complaining about your spouse around your kids. Agree to have discussions with your spouse, especially if they’re likely to turn into arguments when your kids aren’t around. Treat your spouse with respect to maintain a peaceful atmosphere for your kids.

Seek Professional Help

Your kids may need extra help working through the divorce. Take your children to therapy so a professional can help them process their feelings. Let your kids decide if they want to go to family counselling or individual counseling.

A co-parenting class for you and your spouse can also help the situation. The classes provide professional advice and tools to help you work together in raising your kids.
Handling Divorce With Children Is a Delicate Matter

Going through a divorce with children in the mix adds more complexity to an already difficult situation.

But by working with your spouse and putting the kids’ needs first, you can make the life-changing situation easier on them. Check out more parenting articles on our blog about blended families, stepfamilies, and more, for additional help.

For more family tips and advice, check out the other blogs on Cyber Parent.

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