Families Change Teen Guide to Separation & Divorce

What

What Is Happening?

Why It's Happening

It's Not Your Fault

Changes

What Might Change

What Won't Change

Still Your Family

Getting On With Your Life

Emotions

How You Feel

Acting Out

Feeling Better

When To Get Help

Resources

People

Help Lines

More Resources

Strategies

Rights & Responsibilities

Speak Up!

Caught In The Middle

Dealing With It

Abuse At home

Law

Separation

Divorce

Court

Custody & Access

What

What Is Happening?

Why It's Happening

It's Not Your Fault

Resources

People

Help Lines

More Resources

Changes

What Might Change

What Won't Change

Still Your Family

Getting On With Your Life

Strategies

Rights & Responsibilities

Speak Up!

Caught In The Middle

Dealing With It

Abuse At home

Law

Separation

Divorce

Court

Custody & Access

Emotions

How You Feel

Acting Out

Feeling Better

When To Get Help

FAQ

What

What Is Happening?

Why It's Happening

It's Not Your Fault

What

What Is Happening?

Why It's Happening

It's Not Your Fault

Resources

People

Help Lines

More Resources

Resources

People

Help Lines

More Resources

Changes

What Might Change

What Won't Change

Still Your Family

Getting On With Your Life

Changes

What Might Change

What Won't Change

Still Your Family

Getting On With Your Life

Strategies

Rights & Responsibilities

Speak Up!

Caught In The Middle

Dealing With It

Abuse At home

Strategies

Rights & Responsibilities

Speak Up!

Caught In The Middle

Dealing With It

Abuse At home

Law

Separation

Divorce

Court

Custody & Access

Law

Separation

Divorce

Court

Custody & Access

Emotions

How You Feel

Acting Out

Feeling Better

When To Get Help

Emotions

How You Feel

Acting Out

Feeling Better

When To Get Help

FAQ

FAQ

Q & R

Q:
Who decides who I will live with? Do I get a say?
A:

Ideally, your parents will make the decisions together about who you’ll live with and how that will work.

If they can't decide themselves, they might go to a mediator for help in reaching an agreement. Or they might have to go to court and have a judge make the decisions for them.

Whether your parents make the decisions about custody and visiting rights themselves, or with the help of a mediator or a judge, your opinion should be taken into account.

Q:
Do I have to take sides, or choose one parent over the other?
A:

No, you don't. You have the right to love and be loved by both parents.

If you’re feeling pressured to take sides and feel caught in the middle of your parents' problems, tell them. They might be so caught up in their own problems that they don't even know they are doing it, and once they do, they might stop.

Q:
I'm feeling guilty about my parents splitting up. Was there something I did to cause it?
A:

It's very common for teens to believe that they have somehow caused their parents to split up. But you’re not the reason for your parents splitting up. Parents split up because of problems in their relationship.

It's not your fault!

Q:
What will my friends say when they find out about my parents splitting up?
A:

Lots of teens worry about breaking the news to their friends. Some feel embarrassed about what is happening.

Parents splitting-up are very common these days. In Canada, between a quarter and a third of marriages end in divorce. That means that many people have been through it themselves, and most probably know someone who has.

Good friends will be glad you've told them. They'll know that you're still you, even though your family is changing.

Q:
Can I do anything to get my parents back together?
A:

Most parents split up only after trying very hard to save their relationship. Their decision to split-up is usually final.

Some teens hope and believe that if they try to be on their very best behaviour, their parents will get back together. However, this plan isn't likely to work, since their parents' decision to split up had nothing to do with them.

Apart from suggesting that your parents see a marriage counsellor if they haven't already done so, the best thing that you can do is to begin to accept the situation so that you can get on with your life.

Teen Guide

Welcome to A Teen Guide to Parental Separation and Divorce. If your parents have recently separated or divorced (or you think they may be about to), or you have a friend in that situation, this site is for you.

Parental separation and divorce are hard on teens. One thing that can help is information about what separation and divorce mean in Canada, and how they might affect you.

The purpose of this site is to provide you with that information. The site is not intended to provide therapy, support or legal advice.

Do you have younger brothers or sisters? If so, get them to check out the Kids Guide.