September 13,2021

Child Custody, Divorce, Family Law

How to Tell Children You Have Decided to Divorce 

HomeBlogChild CustodyHow to Tell Children You Have Decided to Divorce 

There is no way around it – divorce is hard on the entire family, but it may be most difficult of all on the children involved. If you are facing a divorce, you are naturally concerned about how to tell your children. First of all, it’s important to cut yourself some slack on this one and to recognize that there is no one perfect way to tell your children. There are, however, some guidelines that can help. If you are heading toward divorce, discussing your divorce concerns with an experienced Chicago divorce attorney is always a good place to start.

Make Your Discussions Age Specific

If it’s time to talk to your children about your impending divorce, there isn’t a blanket approach that is going to meet all of your children’s needs at the same time. The best path forward is to tailor your conversations according to each child’s age. 


Teenagers understand life issues on a more immediate and emotional level, and divorce can be particularly hard on them. Further – teenagers being teenagers – are going to want to know how the divorce is going to affect them. Talking specifics, such as how you are working to ensure that their lives will change as little as possible, is a good place to start. Perhaps most important when it comes to teenagers is showing them that you and their other parent put them first and will continue to do so. 

Middle Schoolers

If you have kids in middle school, they are old enough to understand – at some level – that they are not the cause of the divorce, but the dividing line can be murky. Further, children this age are exceptionally vulnerable in the sense that they are beginning to have some independence, but they also recognize exactly how dependent (emotionally and otherwise) they are on you. Taking the time to field your children’s questions and to soothe any fears they have is the best approach. Again, letting your kids know that you and their other parent are committed to changing their lives as little as possible can help considerably.   

Elementary Kids

If you have kids in elementary school, it’s a mixed bag. They may get it one minute and be utterly confused the next. Further, they don’t have the emotional capacity to process more than how their lives will be changing. Keeping your focus on the following can help:

  • Letting them know that they’ll be spending time with both parents separately
  • Assuring them that their schools, friends, and primary home (if possible) will remain the same
  • Keeping things as light as possible
  • Demonstrating that you and their other parent are committed to divorcing amicably (for the sake of your children, if nothing else)

Taking this approach is the best approach all around – for all your children. 

An Experienced Chicago Divorce Attorney Can Help

Cameron H. Goodman at Goodman Law Firm – proudly serving the Chicago Area – is a trusted divorce attorney who understands your desire to protect your children throughout the divorce process and is here to help. To learn more, please don’t wait to contact us today.


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