- Have you and your spouse present for the reveal. We understand that, due to certain circumstances, this just may not be possible. However, if you and your spouse can muster it, try your best to present a united front. This way, your children hear one coherent message and understand that your divorce was a mutual decision reached by you and your spouse (regardless of whether it actually was).
- Let them know that it is not their fault, and that you don’t love them any less. Children tend to take an egocentric view to the world, and their relationship to you and your spouse is certainly no different. Without clarification that they had nothing to do with your decision to divorce, they might blame themselves for your split. It is vital to communicate to them that you and your spouse will continue to love and care for them, and that that will never, ever change.
- Tell them in a straightforward manner what will happen in the coming weeks and months. Generally, children do not respond very well to disruption of their daily routines and habits. If there will be any changes, such as your spouse temporarily moving out (at least while the divorce is pending), tell them this important detail. Strike an empathetic tone with them, as they are processing all of this new information at once.
- Do not get into a verbal argument with your spouse when breaking the news of your divorce to your children. Time and again, studies have shown that children who are exposed to the raw, bitter conflict between spouses that often accompanies a divorce fare worse in life than children who are shielded from divorce conflict. It might take all you can muster not to bad-mouth your spouse when telling your children about your divorce, but it is the absolute right thing to do.
- Let your children know that you are there for them. This is a great way to wrap up the discussion. Ask your children if they have any questions when you first tell them about your divorce, and do your best to answer them empathetically and honestly. Don’t assume that your children only need a day or two to get used to everything, though; you should make it clear to them that they can always come to you with questions or concerns.
During a divorce, having the right legal team makes all the difference. If you are preparing to serve your spouse with divorce papers soon, consider letting Branch Family Law, a caring, aggressive, and experienced family law firm, be your advocate. Please call us at 210-761-6390 to set up your consultation and discuss your options with us today.