Navigating Divorce with Children: A Compassionate Guide

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Rebecca Franklin
Rebecca Franklin
Divorce and Family Lawyer
Woolley & Co, Solicitors

Divorcing with children involves delicate conversations and careful planning to minimise the impact on their well-being. In this guide, we’ll address key aspects of discussing divorce with children, the varying effects on different age groups, and practical tips for creating child arrangements while prioritising your children’s needs.

Timing and Transparency

Deciding when to tell your children about the divorce is crucial. Generally, it’s better to inform them sooner rather than later, offering them time to adjust and understand the situation. The ideal time is when both parents have agreed on the decision but are still residing together, providing a smoother transition.

Establishing a parenting plan beforehand can ease the conversation. Older children’s preferences may influence child arrangements, making early consultation with a family lawyer valuable. If divorce is under consideration, it’s advisable not to share uncertainties with younger children, but nuanced discussions may be appropriate for older children sensing marital strain.

Communicating the Reasons

Honesty is paramount when explaining the reasons for divorce, but specifics aren’t always necessary. Collaborate with your spouse on a general explanation, focusing on understandable concepts like wanting different things or realising a better friendship than a partnership. Avoid assigning blame or divulging unnecessary details unless safety concerns are present. Reassure your children that the divorce is unrelated to them, emphasizing continued love from both parents.

Conducting the Conversation

Approaching the initial conversation requires thoughtful planning. Some dos and don’ts include:


  1. Have both parties present
  2. Present the divorce as a joint decision
  3. Outline the preliminary child arrangements
  4. Be prepared for questions
  5. Encourage the expression of emotions
  6. Reassure that the divorce is not their fault


  1. Blame your spouse
  2. Force children to pick sides
  3. Allow children to take sides
  4. Pressure immediate decisions
  5. Express anger, even if children do
  6. Choose sensitive times for the discussion

Following these guidelines can contribute to a supportive and straightforward conversation about divorce.

Age Considerations: understanding impact

Divorce affects children differently based on age. How you handle the divorce and post-separation relationship influences emotional outcomes. Minimising conflict and maintaining positive relationships with both parents are vital. Seeking legal advice early can facilitate an amicable divorce and suitable arrangements.

Minimising Impact

Minimising the impact of divorce on children is a natural concern. While predicting individual reactions is challenging, clear communication, reassurance, and ongoing support are crucial. Encourage children to share feelings and seek professional help if needed. A joint commitment with the other parent to prioritise children’s well-being fosters a healthy post-divorce environment.

Creating Child Arrangements

Creating child arrangements during divorce involves careful consideration. Prioritise children’s well-being while preserving relationships. Many parents find success through mediation or with a family lawyer. In complex cases, formal arbitration or court intervention may be necessary. Consulting an experienced family lawyer early ensures a comprehensive understanding of rights and responsibilities, guiding decisions and navigating complexities.


Navigating divorce with children requires sensitivity, planning, and open communication. By following these guidelines and seeking professional advice when needed, you can foster a supportive environment for your children during this challenging time.

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About Rebecca Franklin

Rebecca is a divorce and family lawyer based in Birmingham. She has built a solid reputation in the Birmingham and wider West Midlands area having acted for many high-net-worth individuals in resolving their divorce and relationship issues.

Rebecca was noted as “excellent at handling clients and able to sort the true issues within a case”, in Legal 500 2017, and is noted as a Recommended Lawyer for Family Law in Legal 500 2020.

Article written by Rebecca Franklin, divorce and family lawyer with Woolley & Co, Solicitors. Woolley & Co, Solicitors are family law specialists with clients throughout the UK. For advice, you can contact Rebecca on 0800 321 3832 or visit www.family-lawfirm.co.uk.

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