Concern about children may be the number one reason why people delay filing for divorce. Parental divorce can be a traumatic childhood experience that affects your child for years. Of course, witnessing miserable and angry parents attempt to force themselves to stay together can also do psychological harm to children.
If your marriage has reached a point where it has become highly contentious or toxic, going your separate ways will probably be better for everyone in the family, including your children. Making divorce as easy as possible on your kids means putting them first in every decision. One of the most important steps you will take in your divorce is telling your children about it.
Present a unified front to the children
You and your ex will need to learn how to work together as co-parents. You can start preparing for that new dynamic now by working together as you prepare to break the news to your children. Having everyone present for a family discussion will make things easier on everyone. You and your ex can explain to the children that you intend to divorce.
Depending on the ages of your kids, the exact way you handle this discussion may vary. Most children will simply need the basic information and assurances that they are not the cause of the divorce. Older children may have more questions.
You should decide ahead of time what language you want to use to explain why you want to divorce. Pointing the finger at one another at this stage could be a bad move for everyone.
Keep things consistent for the move to separate households
Ideally, you and your ex can have at least a basic agreement about custody terms before you talk to the kids. This way, you can assure them that both of you will be present for plenty of parenting time. You might even take a few minutes to explain how custody exchanges will occur and make sure that the children know that the same rules apply in both parental households.
Staying calm and working together during this difficult conversation will be a great way for you to start putting the focus for your relationship on the children that you share.