Telling Your Child About Divorce

Apr 12, 2023 | Divorce, Family Law

We know that talking with your child about your divorce is never easy. As divorce and family law attorneys, we understand that telling your child as a united front, before there are any changes in living arrangements, is ideal. Of course, that is not possible in every family. Below, we provide some general tips, by age group, to help you prepare to tell your child.

“It’s one of those moments kids will probably always remember.”

As adults, we all have memories of at least one pivotal moment that rocked our world. Learning of their parent’s divorce may be one such memory for them. Be ready to deliver three very clear, age-appropriate messages:

  1. “We (Mommy and Daddy) can’t get along anymore.”
  2. Parents and kids will always be family, and that will never change.
  3. You will live…with…and see (Daddy) on….

Avoid blame and financial talk. Depending on your child’s age and personality, there will be many future opportunities to discuss the real-life implications of your divorce. For now, keep it simple and secure. Help them to understand that they are securely loved and cared for.

Key Things To Keep In Mind, By Age:

Preschoolers, with their limited cognitive abilities, are  ‘the center of the universe’. Everything revolves around them, and they will need consistent reassurance. Give short answers: “Daddy is moving out,”  or “You will see Mommy on Saturday.”

6- to 8-year-olds have a broader worldview and are better at talking about feelings. The complexities of a divorce, however, are still beyond their complete comprehension. 9-to-11-year-olds can discuss their feelings and some aspects of how divorce affects their lives. Kids in this group may have a ‘black and white’ view of the divorce and assign parental blame for the split. They may show clear signs of missing the other parent, even fantasizing about reconciliation. Be very clear in your messaging: You didn’t cause the divorce, and you cannot fix it. Doing so may help them in the healing process.

12-to-14-year-olds have a greater capacity to understand divorce issues, and will ask more questions to increase their understanding of the divorce. Lines of communication remain important in this age group. They are more independent, can be harder to “reach”, and often act as if they don’t want to be bothered. With older teens, it’s like you are dealing with mini-adults. Friends and social life may be their priority, or they may assert independence by being aloof and dismissive. Tailor your conversations to their capabilities, but both parents are wise to make sure that the kids have resources to talk to if communications between you become cloudy. Keep demonstrating your willingness to answer their questions.


We have years of experience helping families through the divorce process.  If you have questions about divorce, we are here to help. Schedule a consultation today with our experienced divorce attorneys.

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