This is a great question for any parents considering divorce, and it really is an issue that is worth thinking through before you act.
Although there may be animosity between you and your spouse, in most cases it is best for the children if the two of you can work together to strategize about what to say to the children. Divorce or separation can be a time of great transition and instability for the kids, and so it’s very important for children to feel safe and certain in their relationships with you as parents.
Once you decide with certainty that you are planning to divorce, you should discuss what you want to say to your children. The more the two of you can come together as a united front, the better the difficult conversation about your divorce is going to be for your children.
Experts in child development also suggest waiting to tell the kids until you and your spouse have answers to some of their questions. So, rather than opting for full disclosure early on when you and your spouse still have a great deal of your own questions and uncertainty, try waiting long enough that you are able reassure your kids about issues like where are they going to live and how often are they going to see each of you. Finally, know that if you and your spouse are not talking about how to tell the kids and one of you tells them first, there are likely to be hard feelings that may be hard to undo down the road.
Dover NH divorce attorney Kim Weibrecht is a member of the Collaborative Law Alliance of New Hampshire, an organization of professionals that promotes Collaborative Divorce, a method that many families choose because it is often easier for children. Learn more about Collaborative Divorce.