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5 tips for breaking the news of your divorce to your kids

For the most part, you're happy about your upcoming divorce. You and your spouse aren't angry with each other and you both think the split is for the best. You're planning for your future and looking at it as a fresh start at 35 years old. Maybe you want to move or start your own business or look for someone new who will make you happier in a second marriage.

Still, as much as you've made your peace with things, you still have to break it to the kids. They may take it pretty hard. Their emotional well-being should be one of your main goals throughout this entire process. Below are a few tips for talking to them:

1. Write down your speech.

Know exactly what you want to say and how you want to say it. Write it out so nothing goes overlooked. This gives you a chance to slow down and think through what you're going to tell them.

2. Stick to the truth.

Don't lie. Not that you'd be likely to, since you feel good about where you're at, but don't blame your spouse or insult him or her. Just tell the kids the facts.

3. Emphasize your love for them.

Kids may feel uncertain about the future. Let them know that you are confident and in control. Tell them that you love them and that you and your spouse will still be involved in their lives. Let them know that you care. You can be their support in a tough time, when they need it most.

4. Let them know they didn't cause it.

Whether they tell you about it or not, kids sometimes blame themselves. They think they must have done something wrong. Tell them it's not their fault; it's yours. Make sure they don't shoulder any of the blame. It's often best if you and your spouse both say this together so they never think that that one of you blames them and the other doesn't.

5. Embrace the follow-up.

Your kids are going to have questions. You may get the same ones for days or weeks, or they may come up with new questions as they think it over and wonder about the future. Don't assume this one conversation is the only one you'll have. Be there for them to answer any questions.

The Kids' Best Interests

Breaking the news isn't the only time you really should focus on your kids. You need to keep them at the forefront of your decisions throughout the entire divorce process: when you're dividing assets, writing a parenting plan, deciding on a custody schedule, and thinking about child support. Make sure you always consider their best interests first.

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