On behalf of Joseph R. Schmitz of Schmitz Law, P.C. posted in divorce on Wednesday, December 23, 2020.

If you and your spouse have decided to split up, it may be difficult to figure out where to start with this process in North Carolina. Making this decision, finding legal representation and preparing to tell loved ones are important elements to take on first, so consider the most important audience for this news: the children.

News of their parents’ divorce is likely to have immediate and lasting impacts on any children shared from the marriage. Consider their wellbeing when deciding how to break this news. How will they react? Are you prepared to answer their questions? How do you even begin this conversation with them? Here are a few tips as you prepare for this talk.

Prepare for this conversation together

When it’s safe for both spouses to do so, consider working together to share this news with the children. Always put your safety and the children’s safety first, so in cases of violence or mistreatment, prioritize safety before all else. If you and your soon to be ex are not in a volatile state, it may be in the best interest of the children to hear this news from both of you.

Hearing this news from both parents can show children that their family life is not completely changing with a divorce. They still have two parents whose top priority is the happiness and wellbeing of their children. Things will change with a divorce, but you can show a commitment to consistency and cooperation by working together to prepare to share this news.

Throughout the divorce process, remain open to a dialogue with the children. They may have more questions and it’s important that they feel comfortable talking to you about their thoughts and feelings.

Remember your key talking points

What are the main takeaways you want children to remember after this conversation? Prioritize sharing the most important and relevant information instead of bogging them down with details they do not yet need. Let them know what the living situation will look like, when they will see each parent and other elements that come into play in the immediate future.

A parenting plan and schedule may change during the divorce and custody arrangement period, but you can at least give them a basic idea of what life will be like in the coming days. Additionally, prepare to hear questions you didn’t consider. Listen to their concerns and try to address them with respect and confidence to provide clarity during this tumultuous time.

Prepare for a response

No matter the dynamics in the family household, children may respond to news of a divorce in a variety of ways. Some children may feel blindsided, unprepared and confused by this news. Others may feel relief that their challenging home life may change for the better.

Their reaction is out of your control, but you can prepare to hear them out and listen to their needs. Even if their reaction doesn’t match your expectations, respect their process and let them know you are both available to talk this out beyond this first conversation.

Throughout the divorce process, remain open to a dialogue with the children. They may have more questions and it’s important that they feel comfortable talking to you about their thoughts and feelings. Additionally, you may consider seeking additional resources such as a family counselor or child psychologist for more assistance during this time. Remember to keep the children’s wellbeing as a top priority before, during and after a divorce.

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