Making the decision to get divorced is just the first step in a legal process that ends your marriage. Think of the marriage as a contract, almost like a business agreement. You signed on and entered the relationship when you got married. Now you’ve decided it’s in your best interests to move on, and you need to get out of the contract.
The big difference, for parents, is that this decision also impacts their children. In addition to knowing your legal rights and all of the important steps you need to take, you also have to consider how this changes their lives and how to break the news to them. When you finally do have that conversation:
- Get everyone together. Have the talk as a family meeting, just as a company that was dissolving would have a board meeting.
- Work with your spouse. Show the children a united front. Don’t place blame. Don’t try to divide their interests.
- Take notes first. Write down all of the things you want to say, or at least the key points. You don’t want to have to get everyone back together later because you forgot something important.
- Open it up for questions. Don’t expect your children to understand it or accept it. They’ll have questions, and you need to give them time to ask. Provide honest answers.
This conversation can be difficult, but doing it properly makes things easier for the children and can have a massive impact on their lives. It also gets the divorce process started, and then you need to look into your legal rights and obligations.