How to Explain Divorce to a Child
Written by Michelle Ogborne

How to Explain Divorce to a Child

Whether your children are asking about divorce, or you and your spouse are getting a divorce, you are going to need to learn how to explain divorce to your children.

Steps for explaining divorce to a child include:

  1. Sit Your Children Down and Tell Them Together

Consider sitting down with your children and telling them the news together. One parent can do all the talking if they like, but the overall goal is to act as a team and make sure your kids know your love for them hasn’t changed.

  1. Make a Plan

Prior to having the sit-down discussion with your children, practice how you will deliver the news, and think about what types of questions they might ask and how you might respond.

  1. Keep it simple

Try to stay as calm as possible while letting your kids know about your divorce plans. Also, be sure to let them know that although the two of you are not going to be living together moving forward, they will still have a home with each of you.

  1. Don’t give reasons

Keep it simple when you first break the news. Don’t play the blame game or tell your kids the reasons for the split. Choose your words carefully and try not to put the blame on either spouse. Make sure the children know it’s not their fault and focus on their emotional needs during this time.

  1. Give different explanations to different age groups

A child who is six years old or younger will often accept whatever explanation you give them without having to know the reasons. On the other hand, a teenager might have already figured out that something is going on, so giving them an honest answer would be more appropriate. In either case, avoid focusing on the negative aspects of what happened between the spouses, and instead focus on what your plans are moving forward.

  1. Let your kids know it’s okay to feel sad

Your children may see one or both of their parents struggling with the emotional fallout of the decision to divorce. Tell them it’s ok to feel sad. Make sure that you are the one comforting them, not the other way around.

  1. Give your kids some notice before the transition

Once you have begun making arrangements to live in separate homes, you should give your children at least two weeks’ notice before you make the transition. Also, make sure to let your kids know that both parents will still have active involvement in their lives and make sure to provide them with a way to maintain frequent contact with the other parent.

  1. Be prepared for multiple conversations

During and after the divorce, there will be many questions your kids will ask as they move between homes. Some kids will seek reassurance from having multiple conversations. Others may be fine with one long talk. Take your cues from your children.

Divorce can be hard on everyone involved, but if you handle it the right way, your kids will know they are loved, and their transitions will happen easier.

Collaborative Divorce Is Easier On Children

Divorce in court can be emotionally draining for you, your spouse, and your children. But it doesn’t have to be that way with collaborative divorce. The collaborative process can result in a less expensive, more efficient, and less harmful outcome for everyone involved. The legal, financial, and communication professionals with Best Legal Choices can help you navigate this difficult time in your life.


The collaborative divorce process is designed to help people who are willing to work together to make an agreement that benefits the family. Resources that help parents communicate effectively during this process can help them model appropriate behavior for their kids. With a lot of love and support, children can more effectively deal with their parents’ divorce. Contact a professional with Best Legal Choices if you’re ready to take the first step toward starting your new life.