5 Tips for Telling Kids You Are Separating or Getting a Divorce

Separation or Divorce is not easy.  What can make it even more difficult is when children are involved.  It is very common for parents to struggle as to how they are going to explain their separation / divorce to their kids.

Here are 5 tips for telling your kids that you are separating / getting a divorce:

(1.) Do not say anything until you are 100% sure you are separating. This may seem obvious, but when people get in the heat of the moment, it is easy to say things prematurely.  It can be very scary and stressful for kids to even hear the word “divorce”, and for those reasons, you don’t want to plant this seed of possibility in their minds.  Once that happens, they will be aware that divorce has crossed your mind and could have ongoing fear that it could be a possibility in the future. When you have decided that you are definitely separating, it is crucial to not say anything to your children until you and your partner have both agreed that you will tell the children.  Avoid putting your partner in the position where they could be caught off guard.

(2.) Maintain a unified front.
Discuss in detail with your partner how you are going to communicate the separation or divorce to your kids, including why you are separating, and what they can expect from the divorce.  It will ease their anxiety if they are getting the same message from both of you.  This does not necessarily mean that you agree on everything, but try your best to stay on the same page. It would also a great idea for both parents to express that the other parent will always be their parent and love them, but that you just don’t get along as a couple.

(3.) Stay away from the blame game.
This can place severe pressure on your kids to feel like they have to take sides.  Just as you wouldn’t want your partner to speak badly of you or tell your kids about your faults that may have lead up to this decision, you shouldn’t do that to them either.  It is very unhealthy for kids to feel like someone is to blame, and this can lead to a breakdown in parent-child relationships that could potentially last a lifetime.  The key is to stay neutral in your language when discussing your partner with your kids.

(4.) Ensure your children know they did not cause this. For their own well-being, kids need to be told directly that they have nothing to do with your decision to divorce.  If you avoid being clear about this, they could carry around the weight of wondering if they are to blame or if they did something wrong to cause this.  Explaining to kids that you grew apart, but that no one is to blame for this would be a good approach to take.  After all, you and your spouse know why you are divorcing.  Your children don’t need to be kept in the loop about every detail.  The less they know, the less they have to worry about.

(5.) Be clear on school and living arrangements
. Questions about school and where they are going to live are guaranteed to come up. The more specific you are about this, the more you can alleviate their stress.  However, it is key to stick to what you tell them and avoid making promises that you are not sure you will be able to keep just to appease them in the short term.

By following these tips, you can help make the painful process of divorce more emotionally comforting for your children.

In Collaborative Divorce, the goal is to reduce the negative effects of your separation or divorce on your children as much as possible. Call Rahul for a FREE 20-minute consultation to discuss why Collaborative Divorce would be a smart choice for your family.

Choose Collaborative Divorce and Keep Your Divorce Records Private

Going through a divorce is obviously a very stressful process, and what can make it even more emotionally and mentally taxing, would be to have your divorce records available to the public eye.  One of the biggest advantages of choosing Collaborative Divorce is that it keeps all of the details of your divorce private.

If your case is litigated in the court system, members of the public can find out all details of your case, including your children.  Chances are you wouldn’t want relatives or your kids reading up on every detail, especially when the divorce becomes very messy and there is a lot of conflict.  It can feel like an invasion of privacy and make relationships very uncomfortable.

Not to mention, in court, many lawyers will strategize with their clients to bring up the most sensitive things about the other parent and the relationship to sway the sympathies of the judge in terms of parenting disputes without a thought as to how this could impact their future or relationships with their children.  This could include very embarrassing things such as alcohol or drug abuse, or even physical and emotional abuse.  Again, these declarations would be signed by and filed in public court.

Your financial information is also exposed when dealing with a court-based divorce.  For most, the thought of having this on record for anyone to access can be quite unnerving.

With Collaborative Divorce, there is the help of coaches to better communicate, resolve issues, work out finances, and develop co-parenting plans. Both you and your spouse work towards making such plans and agreement by entering into good faith negotiations. It is a way to avoid the mudslinging that can happen in a court-based divorce and be more respectful of the person who you once loved enough to say “I do” to.

Choose Collaborative Divorce and move on with your life in the most positive way possible, with your private life kept private. Call Rahul for a FREE initial 20-minute consultation to ask any questions you may have and decide if the Collaborative process is the best choice for you and your partner.


Entering Into a Common-Law Relationship? You Should Seriously Consider a Cohabitation Agreement.

It can be a very exciting time when you decide to move in with your partner. It is important, however, to not let that excitement overshadow the reality of what you are getting yourself into. Moving in with your partner affects your rights regarding your assets, your income, and your children (if you have any or plan to have any). Many people may think that this only happens when you get married, and in actuality, that is not the case. Common-law couples have rights too.

How do you protect yourself?

No one wants to think that things could potentially not work out, but if your relationship were to dissolve, you will be very happy and relieved to know that you are protected. Some may say it is ‘unromantic’, but, it is the wise thing to do!

It’s called a “Cohabitation Agreement”. This legal document can be used for heterosexual or homosexual couples. You can think of this Agreement as a way of being proactive, should any problems arise in the future. It is an opportunity to set parameters individually suited to you and your partner. It will save you both from unnecessary costs and litigation, should you decide to go your separate ways. As the saying goes, “It is much better to be proactive than reactive”.

When are Cohabitation Agreements made?

Ideally, Cohabitation Agreements are made before people move in together, but they can also be made between partners who are already living together. It is in the best interest of both parties to do this as soon as possible.

What are the goals of a Cohabitation Agreement?

  • To ensure that both parties understand what their legal rights and obligations are.
  • To help protect individual assets, income, and children.
  • To have a plan in place should you separate, or in the unfortunate event that your partner should pass away.

What are the top reasons for getting a Cohabitation Agreement?

(1) To Protect Your Property – You can outline what property can be split and how it will be split. If you own the home that you will both be living in, chances are you will not want to give that up should you breakup. You can also protect any other property you bought prior to cohabitating.

(2) To Protect Your Wealth – If you are earning more money and/or are much wealthier than your partner, you would not have to worry about losing everything that you have worked so hard for.

(3) To Protect Your Inheritances

(4) To Agree How Joint Debts Will Be Paid

(5) To Indicate Whether or Not Spousal Support Will Be Paid

(6) To Protect Your Business – If you do not have a Cohabitation Agreement in place, your partner could essentially end up owning part of your business (whether you have other business partners or not). As you can imagine, this could end up being extremely stressful emotionally and financially. Business partners will often have this requirement in place to protect themselves.

(7) To Protect Your Estate Plan – If you pass away, it will ensure that your assets are distributed as you wish. It will prevent your partner from overturning your estate plan.

It is very important that both parties get independent legal advice about what exactly their Cohabitation Agreement means. This will prevent one partner from saying “I didn’t know what I was signing!” should they try to challenge the Agreement.

A Cohabitation Agreement turns into to a Marriage Agreement if the couple marries.

Contact Clean Divorce today for a FREE 20 minute consultation with Rahul about Cohabitation Agreements in BC to answer any questions that you may have. Your future self will thank you for entering your common-law relationship with a feeling of security and peace of mind!