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What to Tell the Children About Divorce

It is often easy to get stuck in your own feelings about the divorce and what you are going through. What follows is a checklist of what your children want to know about the divorce:

  • What happens next
  • Where each parent will live
  • Where they will live and what will happen to their "stuff"
  • Whether they will be able to see each parent and for how much time
  • Whether each of you will continue to love them
  • Whether it is okay for them to love each of you
  • Who will care for them, including daycare provider
  • Will they have to change schools
  • Will they still be able to see their friends
  • Can they continue with their activities
  • Will they still be able to see grandparents or favorite aunt, uncle

Some of these questions you can easily answer and some you cannot. Start with what you do know and provide as much reassurance as possible about what you know. If you don't know where each parent will live or how much time the children will spend with each of you it is okay to speak in general terms—"We will stay in the same town," or "You will get to see your Dad."

Stay away from talking about the reasons for divorce or providing specific details about court appearances or settlement meetings. What your children really need to know is limited to the above checklist. If you still aren't sure, talk to your attorney about what is appropriate or not appropriate to discuss with your children as it relates to your divorce.