Telling your children about your plans to divorce can be one of the hardest parts of the process. However, the situation presents an opportunity to set the tone for the separation and how both parents are going to work together for the benefit of their children. To this end, parents need to put their own feelings aside and present as a united front, even if one parent wants the separation and the other does not. When parents tell the children together, there is only one story, which is easier for children to assimilate.
Tell the children that you are coming together as a family to discuss something very important. Tell them that you, together as parents, have something to tell them and that they need to listen first, but that there will be plenty of time to ask questions and for you to all talk together. Pick a time and place where everyone can come together with no distractions. The best time is usually on a Saturday so that the children have the full day plus Sunday to process the new information before returning to school on Monday. The weekend after telling the children is also an opportunity to show them that they will continue to be supported and loved by both parents and that everything is going to be okay.
Suggestions for making the process as positive as possible for your children:
David J. Glass is a former attorney who practiced family law with Feinberg, Mindel, Brandt & Klein in Los Angeles.