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How to Talk to Your Children About Divorce

Posted on in Divorce

Palatine parenting plan lawyer

Any person who grew up with divorced parents will tell you it is not easy. Although the divorce rate in the United States has decreased, slightly less than half of all marriages still end in divorce. Traditionally, two people get married and then start a family, so children are often caught in the crossfire of a divorce. Studies have shown that children of divorce are more likely to marry another person with divorced parents, and those couples are more likely to get a divorce themselves. If the cycle of divorce continues, it is important for parents to learn how to communicate with their children about the end of their marriage. 

Open Communication

How the discussion of divorce should be handled will depend on the age and emotional maturity of a child. If there are multiple children with significant gaps in age, it may be best to individualize these discussions. Some of the most important aspects of these conversations include being open and honest while talking to children about divorce. Expect a wide range of reactions and emotions, which could go on for a period of time, even after the divorce is final. Some tips for discussing divorce with children of different ages include:

  • Young Children: For children who are still learning to communicate, it is best to keep the discussion of divorce as simple as possible. A toddler or preschooler will likely experience a lot of emotion when their parents decide to split up. They may also blame themselves for the split. Age-appropriate books on the topic can be a helpful tool for explaining divorce to a child. It is important for parents to emphasize that children are still loved, and they will continue to be supported after the divorce.

  • Older Children: For children old enough to understand what a divorce is, they may experience anger, stress, and depression. When speaking to these children about divorce, allow them a safe space to open up about their feelings. Talking out their concerns will not only help answer their questions about the divorce, but it can also provide reassurance and make them feel more secure. 

Creating a Parenting Plan

Even for those who may be somewhat familiar with the divorce process, the terminology surrounding divorce has changed in recent years. In 2016, Illinois law was updated to reflect the nature of parental roles in many modern families, and the terms used may now be unfamiliar to some. Child custody and visitation are now referred to as parental responsibility and parenting time. Instead of one parent having sole or primary custody of children, the new laws encourage co-parenting whenever possible. During divorce, a parenting plan will be created which will outline the decisions made, the schedules for when children will spend time with each parent, and all relevant details related to raising children in both parents' homes. Ideally, parents can work together to not only prepare their children for how their lives will change following divorce, but they can create a parenting plan that puts rules and procedures in place for addressing their children's needs and best interests in the years to come.

Contact a Palatine Parenting Plan Attorney

The decision to end a marriage is never easy, and telling children about divorce can be especially difficult. When preparing for your divorce, it is best to speak to an attorney to solidify your plan and determine the best ways to proceed. The skilled legal team at Anderson and Associates, P.C. has years of experience advising couples throughout the divorce process. Contact our experienced Barrington divorce lawyers to learn about your options when addressing issues related to the allocation of parental responsibility and parenting time. Call our office today at 847-995-9999 to schedule a free consultation.

 

Sources:

https://www.parents.com/parenting/divorce/coping/age-by-age-guide-to-what-children-understand-about-divorce/

https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2019/05/divorced-parents-marriage/590425/

 

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