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Tips on Talking to Children About Your Divorce


The breakup of a marriage is never easy. It can be particularly painful when there are children involved. Fortunately, young people are resilient and do have a tendency to bounce back fairly quickly from unpleasant events that occur in their lives. At the same time, you as a parent play an important role in their divorce recovery. When and how you tell your children about your divorce can help to reduce their trauma and can lay the groundwork for a healthier adjustment.

If you are going through a divorce, get in touch with New Jersey’s top attorney at the Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards. We will work with you to provide the best results for all parties involved.

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Breaking the News of a Divorce to Your Children

Breaking the news of a divorce to children is one of the hardest tasks for parents. In many cases, children are likely to be at least partly aware of some of the problems you and your spouse are experiencing. Sharing information about what is happening with them in an honest, open, and age-appropriate manner plays an important role in your family’s recovery.

There is no perfect way to tell children about divorce, but there are approaches that can help make the news less shocking and painful. If possible, present a united front by having both parents present. If this is not an option, avoid blaming your spouse or overly criticizing their behavior. Additional ways to make this conversation easier:

Pick the Right Time 

Choose a day where there are no other pressing concerns. A Friday night or weekend afternoon when the family has time to spend together may be best.

Tell Everyone Together

It is important for siblings to hear this news at the same time, though you will want to follow up with each child individually afterward.

Make it About Them

While you likely have your own pain, grief, and fears about the situation you are dealing with, remember that your job as a parent is to be supportive and sympathetic to your children and what they are experiencing.

Rehearse What You Will Say

Leave out details, such as a spouse’s affair or particular gripes you have. Speak in general ways about the fact that the marriage is no longer working.

Provide Plenty of Reassurance

Remind them that no matter what happens, you love them and you will all get through this.

How Children Often React to a Divorce

When breaking the news of a divorce to children, it is important to be aware of how they are likely to react. This will vary depending on their age. Here is a general guideline:

  • Children 5 and under: They may not completely grasp the seriousness of what you are telling them, but they may get more clingy as the situation unfolds.
  • Children 6 through 12: They are more likely to have questions and concerns regarding who will take care of them and how this will impact practical matters, such as where they live or go to school.
  • Children 12 through 18: They are likely to have the most complex reactions. They may either erupt in anger or shut down, showing little emotion. Older children are more likely to confide in their friends. Allow them the time and space needed to process their feelings.

Our Middlesex Divorce Attorneys are Here to Help

At the Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards we understand the impact divorce can have on every area of your life. While you deal with your family and other important personal issues, we attend to practical details, ensuring your legal rights are protected. To discuss your options and how we can help you, contact our Milltown family law attorney and request a consultation today.

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