Your decision to divorce your spouse – or perhaps your spouse’s decision to file, or your shared decision – certainly took some time to reach. When it comes to telling your children about your divorce, give them just as much time to understand it and come to terms with it all. This means you are going to need to have a plan about what to do and what not say if you want things to go as smoothly as possible.

Here are some easy-to-remember tips all divorcing parents should know:

  1. United front: If you and your spouse are not in a heated battle and can actually sit down with one another for rational conversations about your divorce, take that cooperation and use it to your children’s advantage by speaking to them about it together. Showing that you are still a team even as your marriage ends can help them anticipate a stable future.

  2. Time to talk: Use an open part of your schedules to talk about divorce the first time, and choose a quiet environment where there are no distractions. Many parents choose Saturday morning since the whole weekend is ahead to address immediate questions and concerns. Don’t worry about “spoiling the weekend” and worry instead about getting that initial conversation completed.

  3. Encourage follow-ups: If you think that one conversation is going to be enough to fully address the confusion a divorce will stir in your children, you are more than likely wrong. Make it clear that you and your spouse expect and will appreciate more questions as the days go by. Do your part, too, by checking in at least once a week to make certain your kids are being open with their emotions and concerns.

  4. Keep it simple: Your children do not need to know every last detail of why you are choosing to divorce. In some situations, the less they know, the better. It is acceptable to cherry pick the most important information and keep other bits back, such as incidents of infidelity. Also keep in mind the age and maturity of your children, as younger kids will not be able to comprehend complex marital matters.

  5. Plan well ahead: You will need to create plans and agreements with your spouse to finalize your divorce that cover a wide variety of matters. If you can, focus first on child custody, child support, and relocation so you can overcome the biggest obstacles your kids will face. Letting them know early that they will be comfortable and in loving homes can remove much of the stress they are undoubtedly feeling.

There’s plenty you should and need to be doing as a parent going through a divorce if you want to make it easier for your children, but in many instances, you have to react as events unfold. A smart way to mitigate any troubles that are sure to be on their way, you should retain the services of a family lawyer as soon as you know a divorce is on the horizon. Fair Cadora, APC and our San Diego divorce attorneys can provide truly compassionate and caring legal counsel backed by experience and client testimonials. Be sure to contact our firm today if you need help with your divorce, starting with how to tell your kids.