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Telling Children About Divorce: Tips For Missouri parents

There are several strategies parents should use before they tell their children about their divorce and during the conversation.

When parents in Missouri end their marriage, they often worry about how their decision to divorce will affect their children. However, before a child support and custody arrangement can be reached, there are a few things parents can do to make telling their children about their upcoming divorce easier.

Before the conversation

According to The Huffington Post, before telling their children about their plans to divorce, parents should collaboratively put together a script for the conversation. Parents should also pick a time and a place to tell their children about the divorce that is free from distractions and does not conflict with a major event. For example, parents should refrain from telling their children about their divorce the evening before one of their children’s birthdays.

During the discussion

Once parents get the conversation started, The Huffington Post states that parents should try to focus on the positive aspects of their divorce as much as possible. For instance, parents should emphasize to their children that they will still have two parents that love them. Parents may also want to stress to their children that things at home will stay as similar as possible.

As the discussion evolves, parents should make sure that their children know that the divorce is not their fault. Additionally, divorcing parents should not blame their future ex-spouse for the dissolution of their marriage, but instead should make the divorce appear as a joint decision.

The divorce process

Once parents conclude this initial conversation, they should expect many more questions about their decision to divorce from their children. As the divorce process progresses, there are also several things parents should avoid doing to help their children cope with this change in their lives. According to the Mayo Clinic, these include some of the following:

  • Parents should refrain from speaking negatively about their ex-spouse in front of their children.
  • During the divorce process, parents should avoid making their children choose sides.
  • Divorcing parents should not argue about or discuss child support issues with their former spouse while their children are present.
  • Parents should avoid asking their children to provide them with information about what their ex-spouse is doing.

Although these strategies may help the children of divorcing parents deal with the divorce process, Missouri parents may still be concerned about how the time they have with their children will be affected after a custody arrangement is devised. If you and your spouse intend to end your marriage, speak with an attorney to determine what you can do to protect the best interests of your children.

Keywords: divorce, children, custody

St. Louis County Bar Association
Illinois State Bar Association
LEX | The Missouri Bar