As a parent, one of the most difficult experiences you will face if you’re preparing for divorce is telling your children that their parents’ marriage is over. No one enters into marriage with the plan to one day get divorced, so you do not have years to prepare a speech or determine how you are going to handle the situation. There are a few things you can do and say to make relating the news to your children a little bit easier.
The news of your divorce may come as a shock to your children. Plan a time when things are relatively calm for your family. It is not a good idea to tell your children when final exams are looming, or when one of them is planning to attend the prom. While you can’t avoid disrupting their lives altogether, you can take steps to minimize the negative impact and ensure this news does not overshadow special events.
Explain What Happened
When you offer some explanation for the divorce to your children, do so with a plan in place for what you are going to tell them. Consider the ages of your children and the circumstances of the separation when determining what to share. It is best if the explanation can be unified, so that children hear the same thing from both parents. Script out what you will tell your children about the reasons for divorcing and be careful not to blame either parent. In all events, the children should not be made to blame the other parent or to take sides.
What Happens Next?
More than anything, your children need to have an understanding about what happens next. They will have many questions, and if those questions go unanswered, then it can become damaging for them emotionally. If you and your spouse can discuss your plans and come to an agreement before you talk with the children, then you will have a better idea about how to answer their questions and give them a sense of relief about the future. Common questions include: “Who will we live with?”, “How often will we see Mommy/Daddy?” “Will we keep our friends?” and “Will we go to the same school?”
A divorce is a difficult transition for every member of your family, but especially your children. By taking some time with them to understand their feelings, you will build trust and help them to cope with the changing dynamics of their family.
For more information about family law, including divorce litigation and mediation, contact Linda Sorg Ostovitz, Offit Kurman, at (301) 575-0381.
ABOUT LINDA SORG OSTOVITZ
Linda Sorg Ostovitz is a family law attorney. Her legal experience spans more than 32 years. In this time, she has served as a leader, educator and advocate. Mrs. Ostovitz holds a prestigious fellowship in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. Currently, she serves as President for the Business Women’s Network of Howard County, by which she was chosen Woman of Distinction for 2014. Mrs. Ostovitz represents clients in Howard, Anne Arundel, Carroll and Baltimore Counties. Her practice focuses exclusively on divorce litigation and mediation, child custody and access, child support, alimony, business valuation, as well as property and asset distribution. In addition to providing legal representation in court, Mrs. Ostovitz provides mediation services to help families come to a fair and legally-sound conclusion outside of the traditional court proceedings.
ABOUT OFFIT KURMAN
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