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Divorce can be a difficult situation for anyone to face, and it can be especially challenging for children, who perhaps do not understand why their parents are getting divorced, or are confused about their own role in their parents' marriage. Talking with children about divorce is an essential step toward helping them accept the situation, but it can be difficult for many parents to do. Oftentimes, parents put off talking to their kids about their divorce because they are unsure how to approach the topic, but this delay can make a divorce even more difficult for a child or children to move past.
When kids are suddenly facing the divorce of their parents, they may feel like the divorce is their fault, or they could become angry and begin acting out. Such a situation can make a divorce even more difficult to process for both spouses, but talking to your kids strategically and effectively might prevent any confusion or anger.
While talking to your children about your divorce may not seem appealing or may seem beyond your capabilities, just remember that a lot of people have to go through this process and there are ways to make it easier on both yourself and your kids. Some strategies for making this process easier include the following:
ñ Talk to your kids with your spouse – present a united front
ñ Carefully explain the reasons for the divorce, as appropriate
ñ Make it clear that the divorce is not the child's fault
ñ Maintain eye contact and a calm voice and demeanor
ñ Avoid blaming your spouse for anything, and stay positive
ñ Allow plenty of time for kids to ask questions
Each of these strategies can make talking with your kids about your divorce easier, not just for your children, but for you as well. While you may not implement all of these strategies, you can decide which will work best for your situation and use them at your discretion. If you feel like you need additional advice for talking to your children, you may want to consider talking to a divorce lawyer, as these professionals have the experience necessary to advise families in a variety of situations. Remember, every family is different, so talking about your divorce with your kids will be a different experience for you than it would be for someone else.
If either you or your spouse may be thinking about a divorce, the first thing you should do is consult with an attorney who handles divorce matters in your area. Too often I meet with people who have talked to friends or family and been given totally wrong information about one or more issues they will face in the event of a divorce. These sources are great to get advice from in many instances but a possible divorce is not one of them. Friends and family are very important for both emotional and possibly financial support but don’t rely on them for divorce advice.
One of the things I enjoy most about my practice is meeting new people and finding out about how I can help them deal with their particular circumstances. Every person’s situation is unique. A divorce lawyer can advise you regarding your specific circumstances and tell you what you should be doing as well as things you should not be doing to put yourself in the best possible position to either get the best settlement or prepare yourself for a potential trial. This is even more important for people who may not be familiar with the particular facts surrounding their finances or how much income they have. There might be things like specific expenses for children or other reasons to cause you to want to go ahead and file, wait to file or not file at all. If you think you might have to deal with a divorce, go see a lawyer and find out what issues are going to be important in your situation as soon as you can. Without a doubt dealing with a potential divorce is stressful enough. Don’t compound your anxiety by not getting real answers to your questions from a lawyer who knows how to answer them.