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Joseph R. Zoucha, Attorney & Counselor at Law

Are you ready to tell your kids about the divorce?

When you first got married, you likely envisioned you and your spouse living happy lives, starting a family and reaching milestones together. When the children came, you both could not have been happier about having little ones around. Unfortunately, as the years passed, your relationship began to deteriorate.

Now, you and your spouse have to decide how to tell the kids that you will no longer be married. Because divorce starts a chain reaction of numerous changes in the lives of the entire family, you may understandably worry about the effects those changes will have on your kids. Of course, you can offer reassurance and comfort to your children throughout the process.

Start by knowing what you will say

Breaking any type of difficult news to anyone can be uncomfortable. In many cases, it can help to preplan and rehearse what you will say ahead of time. This approach may be helpful when telling your kids about the divorce. Knowing what you will say could help prevent your emotions from causing you to stumble over your words or confuse the kids. Typically, it is best to be straightforward and not give any unrealistic expectations that you and the other parent will get back together.

Remain civil

Ending a marriage can happen for many reasons, and you and your spouse may not feel able to work as a team any longer. However, because you have kids, you will always be on the same team as far as wanting what is best for your little ones. Therefore, you may want to agree to remain civil with one another and tell the kids together. This way, the children can ask questions and express concerns with the entire family present.

Find a comfortable setting

You do not want to break the news to the kids while they are upset, overstimulated or in an environment to which they are not accustomed. As a result, telling them the news over dinner may be worth considering. The entire family may be present, and if you normally have family conversations during this time, the kids may already understand that the dinner table is a place for discussion.

Find the right custody arrangements

You undoubtedly want to reassure the children that both parents still love them and that they will be able to spend time with each of you. However, it is important that you give them expectations that fall in line with your custody arrangement. As a result, you may want to review your custody options and determine what may work best for your California family.

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