Sometimes divorce is the best, if not only, option for a couple in New Jersey to move forward with their own lives. This is not an easy reality to accept, particularly when considering how this will affect other important elements of your life. As a parent, a major priority to consider is the wellbeing of any children in the family.

How do parents prepare to tell their children about an upcoming divorce? What can you say and do to make this process as painless and simple as possible for the kids?

Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut, comprehensive guidebook for handling this situation. Having said that, there are a few key factors every parent should consider implementing into their plan of discussing a divorce with children.

Take time to prepare

Telling children about a divorce should not be a rushed task or taken lightly. No matter the family dynamics before a split, a major part of your child’s life is about to change and that presents a lot of unknowns. To prepare for breaking this news, try to create a plan with the other parent and have this conversation as a full family group.

The marriage is ending but the family is not. As much as you may like to have this person out of your life, that is just not possible in most cases if you two have children together. If it’s in the best interests of the children and safe to do so, some form of shared custody is a common arrangement.

Begin this new shared dynamic on a good foundation by working together on how to tell children about the divorce. Presenting a united front can show the children that the family is not falling apart, only changing for the betterment of all involved.

Consider a childs reaction

Everyone reacts to news in their own unique way. As a parent, you most likely know your child’s general reactions. Use this past information as a guidepost for devising a plan for this important conversation. There is no way to perfectly predict their response, but you can have a general idea going forward.

Additionally, prepare for a range of emotions and responses. This is major news no matter the past family dynamics, so their reaction can vary. Some children may feel sadness and confusion while others feel relieved and welcome the news. Accept their reaction and prepare to answer questions and listen to concerns not only during the initial conversation, but also throughout the divorce process.

Ask for help

No parent has to go through this situation alone. Consider some of the professional resources at your disposal when preparing children for a divorce. Seek the advice of family counselors, family law experts and child psychologists to prepare for how to handle this delicate situation.

Your children are a top priority during major life changes such as a divorce and custody arrangement decision. It’s worth taking the time and care to prepare for this new set of challenges and changes in the family. Consider the success and happiness of your children while you prepare to share the news of an upcoming divorce.