Filing for divorce is an adult decision that has implications for everyone in the family. Whatever the ages of your children, they will likely have a lot of questions about your divorce.
Questions about practical concerns, like where they will go to school, can be much easier to answer than the emotional ones. Children often want to know how you feel or why you have decided to file for divorce. They may even blame themselves unless they hear another reason.
Although you want to be honest with your children, you likely should not expose them to all of your personal feelings about the divorce or the reasons for it. Agreeing with your ex about an appropriate explanation for the divorce is often important. If you tell the children the “unvarnished truth,” your ex might try to accuse you of parental alienation.
Too much information can do more harm than good
The closer your relationship is with your children, the more they want to support you. If they believe you feel angry or hurt because of the divorce, they may take those emotions out on their other parent.
Disclosing to them that your spouse’s infidelity or emotional abuse caused your divorce might make them angry at their other parent. They might even begin to withdraw from that relationship. While what you have told the children may be factually true, it may not have been necessary to share. It is often enough (and true) to say that you and your spouse simply “grew apart.”
If your ex can convince the courts that you told the children negative things with the intent of damaging the relationship they have with the kids, it could hurt your position in upcoming custody proceedings. Judges largely condemn attempts at parental alienation.
Learning more about what affects child custody proceedings can help you make better decisions during your upcoming divorce.