How to inform children about a divorce
9 mins read

How to inform children about a divorce

Telling children about a divorce is never simple, so it is reasonable to be concerned and unsure of how to approach the matter. Despite the fact that each circumstance is unique, there are steps you can do to prepare, make the talk smoother, and minimise the bad effect on your children.

This blog from Barclay Devere East London addresses some of the most often asked topics about notifying children about a divorce and the effects of divorce on children. In addition, we provide crucial advice for coping with divorce with children in a manner that might make things simpler.

When should you disclose your divorce to your children?

The appropriate moment to notify your children about your divorce may depend on the specifics of your situation. Generally, it is preferable to inform them sooner rather than later so they have time to adjust and are aware of what is occurring.

After deciding to divorce and reaching an agreement with your husband, this is often the ideal moment to inform your children. This will provide them the most time to adjust to the concept and express any queries. In contrast to notifying children shortly before or after one parent has moved out, informing kids while both parents are still living in the family home might assist soften the transition.

Before notifying your children about your divorce, it may be a good idea to have previously formed a parenting plan with your ex-spouse. Early on, you might address this with a family lawyer. For older children, their preferences may have a greater influence on child arrangements, therefore this must be taken into account.

If you and your husband are considering divorce but have not yet made a decision, it is generally better not to notify your children. If you are contemplating choices such as marital counselling, you may want to inform your older children, who are better able to comprehend (and may be aware that your marriage is stressed), but your younger children may be less able to grasp what this implies.

Should you explain the divorce to your children?

It is certain that your children will ask you why the divorce is occurring, and you will need to provide them with an explanation they can comprehend. While it is important to be honest with your children, there is no need to go into great detail about why your relationship is ending.

It is seldom advisable to assign blame or inform children about particular actions, such as infidelity, committed by a spouse. Your children should typically refrain from saying anything that may harm their connection with either parent, unless there are special concerns for their well-being related to your spouse’s behaviour.

If your children continue in asking you questions that you do not like to answer, you may need to clarify that this is a private matter between you and their other parent and that you will not disclose the information.

Obviously, it is a good idea to emphasise that the divorce has nothing to do with your children, that they are not to blame, and that it has no effect on your feelings for them.

How do you broach the topic of divorce with your children?

When considering how to notify children about a divorce, it is crucial to organise the first discussion you have with them on the matter. The best method to discuss your divorce with your children depends depend on the circumstances, but here are some basic dos and don’ts to keep in mind:


·        If feasible, try to have the dialogue with both parents present.

·        Present the divorce as a collaborative choice (otherwise, kids may see the parent as solely responsible)

·        who chooses to stop the relationship as “at fault”). In accordance with the new divorce legislation enacted in April 2022, couples may now submit a combined, no-fault divorce petition.

·        Have a concept of how your children will be cared for, such as who will be living in the family home, before informing them.

·        Be prepared for inquiries

·        Ensure your children understand it is OK to be angry

·        Stress that the divorce has nothing to do with them and will not alter your feelings for them.


·        Blame the divorce on your spouse

·        Encourage your children to select a side

·        Permit your children to begin choosing sides (even if they want to)

·        Request that your children make any necessary choices immediately, such as with whom they choose to reside.

·        Get enraged (even if your children are)

·        Tell them around birthdays or holidays (such as Christmas), since this is likely to be more distressing and may create unpleasant future connections.

·        Declare it in public

Keeping these things in mind might make it easier to plan how to notify your children about your divorce.

At what age does divorce have the greatest impact on a child?

There is no conclusive answer as to how a kid’s age determines how much the divorce affects them, since the effect of divorce on a child depends on a number of circumstances. According to a research by University College London, however, there is some indication that older children are more likely to be impacted (UCL).

Children aged 7 to 14 whose parents divorced were more likely to develop emotional and behavioural problems than children in the same age group whose parents remained married. There was no difference in emotional or behavioural concerns between children aged 3 to 7 whose parents divorced and those whose parents did not divorce.

It is also essential to note that the manner in which you divorce and the kind of connection you have following your separation will likely have a significant emotional effect on your children. Keeping friction to a minimal and ensuring that they keep the greatest possible connection with both parents is crucial, so you should get experienced legal counsel to assist you in obtaining an amicable divorce and determining the appropriate arrangements for your children as soon as possible.

How can I divorce without causing harm to my child?

It’s very reasonable to be concerned about the effect your divorce will have on your children and to want to do all you can to minimise their suffering. In truth, it is difficult to foresee how a certain kid will react to a divorce, and even the best-managed divorce is likely to bring them short-term distress.

To minimise any short-term pain your kid may experience, you should concentrate on being transparent with them about what is occurring and, as noted previously, emphasise that the situation is not about them and that both parents still love them. Make time for your children, be ready to answer their concerns, and provide emotional support for any feelings they may be experiencing.

Regarding any long-term pain your children may have, it is crucial to encourage them to express their emotions so you can understand what is going on. If they are suffering, you may next consider what help they may need, such as meeting with a counsellor or other expert.

Perhaps the most essential thing you can do to minimise the damage on your children is to make a shared commitment with the other parent to put your children’s best interests first and to ensure that they maintain a healthy connection with both of you.

How can I make appropriate arrangements for my children after a divorce?

Making child arrangements during a divorce involving children may be difficult. You will need to choose where they will reside, how much contact they will have with each parent, what their daily routine will look like, how each parent will fit into this, and what will occur around special occasions like as birthdays and holidays.

The well-being and best interests of your children should always be at the forefront of your thinking, but you must also safeguard your connection with them. The appropriate kid arrangements for your scenario depend entirely on your particular circumstances.

Numerous parents settle on child arrangements between themselves, with the assistance of a mediator, or with the counsel of a family attorney. This is not always suitable or feasible, and it may occasionally be necessary to explore formal arbitration or, as a last resort, to apply to a family court for a Child Arrangements Order.

Regardless of the circumstances, it is essential to see an expert family attorney as soon as possible. They will be able to advise you on all elements of separating with children, including your parental rights and obligations, the choices you will need to make, and the alternatives available to you.

A family lawyer can advise you through the necessary measures to guarantee that your children’s best interests are safeguarded in situations involving separation and children that include more complicated difficulties, such as relocation or wellness concerns.

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