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Timing is important when talking to your kids about divorce

In a perfect world, you'd dream of what you want your future to be like and then bring it to fruition. If marriage and family life in California were part of that dream, you'd find the love your life, tie the knot, have children and live happily ever after. In reality, life is often a lot messier than that. In fact, some issues are so complex or troublesome that it prompts life-changing events, such as divorce. Divorce doesn't mean you don't love your children.

It's always a good idea, however, to tread softly when broaching the topic with your kids. In fact, unless you and your spouse have made a final decision or have filed a petition in court, you may want to avoid telling your children anything for the time being. If you have made a final decision, there are several things to keep in mind that will help your children cope. Building a strong support network is definitely a top priority.

When to tell your children that you are filing for divorce

If your households are like many others in California, you likely have weeks where you're barely home because of all the running around you do from sports practices, school events, doctor appointments and other activities. When it comes to telling your children that you are getting divorced, it's a good idea to set time aside on a day when you don't have to leave the house right away.

It's best if both parents can be present for the discussion. Your children may experience a wide range of emotions, which is why it's better to tell them your news on a day when you can be together as a family to help them come to terms with what they've learned and to talk about the future.

There doesn't have to be a bad guy

The fact may well be that your spouse has done something that has led your decision to divorce. Your children, however, don't necessarily need to know that. Children typically function on a need-to-know basis. Adults often make the mistake of giving them more information than they can handle.

No matter what has transpired in your personal relationship with your spouse, you can stick to the basics when talking to your kids about divorce. They definitely need to know how your decision will play out in their daily lives, such as where they'll live, who will spend holidays with them and other issues. Think twice before speaking negatively about each other or telling your kids about an extra marital affair or other adult matter.

Rely on support as you build a new lifestyle

You'll want to closely observe your children's behavior, moods and health conditions after you tell them about your impending divorce. Letting them know it's okay to talk about how they feel with grandparents, teachers or counselors helps them understand they are not to blame and that it is okay to feel sad, angry or upset.

As a parent, your children need you to be healthy as well. Divorce has an impact on your mental, physical, emotional and financial condition. If you feel ill-equipped to handle a particular issue, don't hesitate to reach out for support.

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O'Brien Family Law, PC 

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Sacramento, CA 95814

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