Going through a divorce is naturally an extremely difficult time, potentially bringing up many conflicting emotions, and worries about the future.
When you’re going through this challenging period, you are also likely to be concerned about the impact on your children.
Telling your children about divorce isn’t always easy, it can be difficult to judge what the right approach is, or gauge how your children might react. However, there are things that you can do to make the experience easier, and to prepare yourself.
In this blog we will discuss divorce with children, providing simple tips on how to tell your children about divorce.
Please note, this blog is intended for general information purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice. If you need legal advice concerning divorce or child law, please get in touch with your local BakerLaw office or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When telling your children about your divorce, it is important to offer plenty of reassurance, ensuring that your children know that they are supported and loved, and that no part of the situation is their fault.
Research from Association of Child Psychotherapists, suggests that children will often blame themselves for divorce, and so this type of affirmation is incredibly important.
Parents are encouraged to remind their children that they are loved, and to demonstrate and emphasise this, during this tough time. It’s essential to remain emotionally available, and accept that your child may also need some space to process their feelings.
Ensure honesty where appropriate
Many parents worry about how to explain divorce to a child, and this is of course very natural. To ensure that things go as smoothly as possible, it can be useful to prepare, for instance, by planning what you are going to say.
Honesty can be important when communicating a divorce to children, particularly where the divorce might impact a child’s lifestyle and living arrangements. It’s vital that parents don’t promise that everything will remain the same if this is not the case. Parents should also be mindful of how much information it is appropriate to share with their children at this time.
It’s important to consider a child’s age when discussing your divorce with them. When telling young children about divorce, sharing certain details could be quite unhealthy or confusing. Mental Health Non- Profit, HelpGuide.org, advise that simple explanations and basic logistical information is best for younger kids.
Avoid pointing blame
Speaking badly of your ex-partner or pointing blame at them may feel justified, depending on the circumstances, however, this type of negativity and conflict is best kept from your children.
Remaining as neutral as possible when discussing your ex-spouse and the circumstances will mean that you can avoid distressing your child further. This way, you’ll also ensure to protect their relationship with their other parent.
Focusing on an unbiased narrative can protect your child at this already difficult time, and when your child is old enough, they can form their own opinions on what’s happened.
No-fault divorce was introduced in April 2022, with the intention of removing the necessity of blame from the divorce process. The hope was that divorce proceedings could then be less stressful for both the divorcees and the children in the divorce.
Our children law solicitors can answer help you to navigate any concerns that you may have regarding your child and divorce proceedings.
Gain professional support
The effects of divorce on children can be wide ranging, all children will process and express their emotions in different ways. It’s important that parents are accepting of their children’s feelings, ensuring to offer support, and intervening when a child appears to not be coping.
If you and your children are struggling, it can be helpful to gain professional support, for example, family therapy, or therapy specifically for a child who needs help.
Of course, it is normal for children to express sadness and anger during their parents’ divorce, and not all children will need therapy. However, where your child’s behaviour is extreme, for instance, where their actions are particularly concerning and overly disruptive to their school life or family life, this often signifies that they need some extra support.
A therapist will also be about to provide further guidance on how to tell children about divorce.
In a legal sense, seeking help from a divorce solicitor can potentially help you to reduce conflict surrounding the divorce. For example, by using mediation sessions, to resolve practical matters and disagreements, making the necessary arrangements without the stress of going to Court.
How can Bakerlaw help?
At Bakerlaw, we have much experience supporting clients with family law matters, including divorce, civil partnership dissolution, and child law matters.
We can assist you in various ways, whether you need support to make arrangements for your children, or to divide your finances. Our solicitors have the knowledge and expertise to protect your rights, and will always handle your case with sensitivity.
Our family law solicitors have many methods at our disposal to support clients with divorce related legal matters, including negotiation, settlement discussions and alternative dispute resolution methods. Where necessary, we can also represent you in court.