A divorce is an emotional, stressful time for everyone involved. But having a child can complicate things even further. Telling a child about your divorce requires preparation, and you should anticipate a wide range of emotions.
Every child is different in a divorce situation. Some children express anger; others feel guilty; others become quiet and reserved. In this guide, we provide some tips for preparing a child for your divorce.
Tell Your Child Together
Even if you’re not on speaking terms with your ex-partner, it’s a good idea to tell your child about your divorce together, if possible. This provides your child with some stability at this difficult time and proves both parents have good intentions.
Arrange a time with your ex-partner where you tell your child about your break-up. Let your child know that you will work together as parents. If you have more than one child, it’s crucial to have this conversation with all children at the same time:
“It’s important that your children hear this news at the same time and directly from mom and dad; not from the sibling who heard it first,” says Psychology Today. “So if your kids are different ages, plan to share the basic information with all your kids together.”
Tell Your Child the Reason for Your Divorce
Telling your child about the reason for your divorce is difficult, especially if you and your ex-partner disagree on the reason. However, it’s important to be as honest as you can with your child. Of course, there’s information you might want to hold back, especially if your child won’t understand. But it’s vital to give your child a basic reason for your divorce.
Prepare to answer questions. Your child might want to know more information, and this is perfectly normal. However, you should always alleviate any fears your child might have. Children tend to think of themselves in divorce situations — “Who will take me to school?” “What will the holidays be like?” and “How will my life change?” are some of the questions you might receive — but stress that you and your ex-partner are just as committed to their well-being as before.
Did you know… There were 782,038 divorces in the United States in 2018?
Many people going through a divorce in Connecticut benefit from some kind of therapy where they discuss their problems with an impartial third-party. But therapy also benefits children affected by their parents’ divorce. Family therapy helps you, your child, and (potentially) your ex-partner develop new coping skills that strengthen the family unit during this unusual time.
Lots of children experience something called separation anxiety when their parents go through a divorce. Children might develop feelings of anxiety about being away from a parent — for example, your ex-partner who moves out of the family home. Regular therapy can help children in divorce situations express their feelings and learn new coping routines.
Did you know… The divorce rate in 2018 was 2.9 per 1,000 people in the U.S.?
Don’t Introduce a New Partner… Yet
Introducing a new partner to your child during the divorce process can be a recipe for disaster. Of course, it all depends on the emotional maturity of your child, but a new partner can often cause unnecessary distress. You might prefer to wait until you have finalized your divorce before you bring the new person in your life home.
There’s a fine line between not telling children about a new partner and lying to them, but sometimes it’s better to withhold this information.
“You can simply tell your kids that you’re going out with a new friend and that’s enough information,” says Divorce Magazine. “Consider the amount of time since your divorce, the age of your children, and the level of commitment to your partner. Waiting on introducing a new partner to your kids will pay off for everyone in the long run.”
Don’t worry, there will be a time and place to introduce your new partner to your child. At this point, your child might have accepted your divorce and adapted to lifestyle changes.
Divorce comes with all kinds of lifestyle changes for children. Over time, your child will learn to adapt to a new way of life, usually one where a second parent isn’t living in the same household. This is why it’s important to stay as consistent as you can during this period. Children like consistency, and any other lifestyle changes — like sending your child to a new school — could cause additional emotional problems.
Child custody arrangements — where your child shares time between you and your ex-partner — are one of the biggest lifestyle changes that come from divorce. Agreeing to custody arrangements can take a lot of time and patience, so you need a professional divorce attorney in Connecticut who guides you through the process.
What Happens Next?
There are various factors associated with a divorce, and many of these will impact your child in some way. This is why you need to hire a Connecticut divorce attorney that you can trust to manage the following issues:
If you choose your attorney wisely, divorce doesn’t have to be a stressful experience, and the process could be over quicker than you think. In Connecticut, there are alternatives to traditional divorce cases that end up in front of a judge. Options such as collaborative divorce and mediation might suit you better, especially if you have a child.
Rochlin Law Group is a West Hartford, CT-based divorce law firm that looks out for you and your child’s best interests. You can quickly resolve the conflicts that are so often associated with divorce.
Looking for a divorce attorney in Connecticut? Call Rochlin Law Group on (860) 357-9158 or click here to talk to a member of the team.