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Michigan Family Law Blog

When Should We Tell the Children We are Getting Divorced in Michigan?

Posted by Cameron Goulding | Apr 03, 2024 | 0 Comments

Photo by Keren Fedida on Unsplash

Going through a divorce is a very difficult time for anyone and can be particularly difficult for spouses with children.  The issues of custody, parenting time and child support can be some of the most difficult issues you will have to handle in your entire life.  One question that should be addressed is when to tell the children that you are filing or have filed for divorce from the other parent.  There are different schools of though on how this should be handled and each case is different, this blog addresses very generally how I believe it should be handled based on my 37 years of practice as a divorce lawyer (also known as family law attorney) in Oakland County, Michigan.  If you are facing the potential of a separation or divorce, contact us to schedule a consultation regarding your particular situation by clicking this link or by calling (248) 608-4123.

Should We Tell the Children Together?

When it is at all possible, it is best for both parents to sit down together with the children to tell the kids about the divorce.  Both parents should assure the children that both parents love them, it is not their fault for the divorce, both parents will continue to be involved in the children's lives and that the parents will handle the process and make sure the children will be ok.  If necessary, one or both parents may need to seek an appropriate therapist or counselor to help prepare them for this conversation and how to handle it in as adult a manner as possible.  It is not appropriate for one parent to tell the children about the divorce without the other parent present under most circumstances. 

Once  the children have been advised, the parents should see how the children react and whether it might be appropriate to obtain an independent counselor or therapist for the child or children to help them through the process as well.  If the child already has a therapist, then it might be wise for the parents to meet together with the child's therapist or have a discussion with the therapist (without the child present) about how to best broach the subject with the child.

When Should We Tell the Children?

While it is one of the most difficult things you may ever have to do, the sooner that the two of you are able to tell the children that a divorce has been filed and a divorce will be proceeding, the better it is for the children and the parents.  Children are very intuitive and are able to understand that something has changed in the behavior of their parents once the divorce process is initiated, so while the adults may believe they are somehow shielding the children, it typically only creates more anxiety for the children.  In addition, there is always the chance that someone else will find out about the divorce and either intentionally or accidentally tell the children about it.  The information should come from the parents directly and the kids deserve to know what is going on because of the profound effect if will have on their lives.

If you are considering a divorce or separation, please do not hesitate to contact us to schedule a consultation by clicking this link or calling us at (248) 608-4123.

About the Author

Cameron Goulding

A native of Oakland County, Michigan, family lawyer Cameron C. Goulding has been providing counseling and legal services of the highest caliber to individuals and families in Southeastern Michigan for over 24 years. Mr. Goulding grew up in Oakland County, Michigan and graduated from Birmingham G...


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