10 Tips for Starting the Divorce Process and Sending Your Children Back to School

10 Tips for Starting the Divorce Process and Sending Your Children Back to School

Your children are headed back to school and you are starting the divorce process. There is no “right way” to handle a divorce. However, it’s important that you talk with your spouse to determine the best way for your family. Regardless of what you both decide, try to place your children at the forefront of your decision making process. Below are a few helpful tips to keep in mind when going through the divorce process.

  1. It’s important that this conversation happens face-to-face with your children and spouse present. By you and your spouse having a face-to-face dialogue with your children, you show them your strength in handling your divorce. It’s a hard conversation to have, but it doesn’t have to be. You can also meet with a therapist to learn how to tell your children.
  1. Don’t rush the conversation. Your children may or may not have questions. Regardless of how your children react, it’s important to emphasize that it is not your children’s fault that the marriage ended.
  1. Give your children time to process. Children will process the divorce differently. Some children may want to talk to you and others may become more reserved. Regardless of how your children process the divorce, it’s important to remind your children that you and your spouse are always there for them to talk about the divorce.
  1. Let your children respond. Some children respond with anger, some respond with heartbreak. Others may not respond at all. You will likely run through every possible scenario in your head. However, it’s important to remain patient and understanding.
  1. If your children are young, you may want to tell their teachers about your divorce.[1] Thus, if there are any usual changes your children’s behaviors, the teachers can be prepared. Additionally, the teachers can maintain communication with you and your spouse accordingly.
  1. Keep a calendar. Tools such as Google Calendar make it easy to coordinate the children’s schedules. You can update the calendar whenever an activity changes or arises, and keep track of where the children will be spending their weekends, if you both live in different locations.[2]
  1. Check in on your children. Although it seems obvious, it’s important to check in with your children regarding how they’re feeling about the divorce. If your children are going off to college, they may want their space to process the divorce. However, it’s important to remind your children that you and your spouse are both there for them and support them.
  1. Give them space. This seemingly contradicts the point above. Find a balance between speaking with your children and giving them time to process the divorce. If your children don’t want to talk about it, don’t immediately feel alarmed. Some children need more time than others.
  1. Suggest the possibility of seeing a therapist. Some children may be willing to go to a therapist, while others won’t. However, it’s important to give them the option. Many collaborative divorce attorneys work closely with a mental health professional so talk with your attorney or mental health professional about obtaining a therapist. Speaking with a trained professional may help your children in the long run.
  1. Split the school supplies. School can get expensive, especially if you’re sending your children off to college. Come up with a list of supplies that your children need for school and determine who will be financially responsible for each item.[3]

When your divorce is finalized, your conversations with your children do not have to end. Check in with your children to see how they’re processing the divorce. Some children react right away, while others do not. Work on developing your communication skills so you can become a better listener, and in turn, a better co-parent.

[1] Munsinger, Harry. “Tips for Kids Going Back to School after a Divorce.” Collaborative Divorce Texas, 22 Aug. 2018, collaborativedivorcetexas.com/tips-kids-going-back-school-divorce/.

[2] Garrison, Shawn. “Transitioning Your Kids Back To School After Divorce.” Dads Divorce, 5 Sept. 2018, dadsdivorce.com/articles/transitioning-kids-back-school-divorce/.

[3] Id.

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