Families Change Parent Guide to Separation & Divorce

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Talking About the Law Around Kids

Some parents can work out the details of their break-up amicably, using courts and lawyers as little as possible. Others consult lawyers to help them solve their disagreements. Regardless of your situation, be careful when talking about legal matters in front of your children.

For children, their family is their whole world. Hearing parents talk about custody and visiting rights, separation agreements, mediation, divorce, courts and the law can be frightening for kids. Younger children may not understand why it’s necessary to formalize a separation or divorce, or why the law needs to be involved. Preteens and teens, or children with friends whose parents have separated or divorced, may be especially sensitive to the thought of their parents taking legal action against one another, beyond normal feelings of fear of loss.

Handle conversations with your children about the law and separation or divorce with sensitivity. The finality of the break-up may hit home for many children when legal matters start being discussed. Try to understand their fears, and answer their questions in a caring and supportive way.

Knowing the law on separation and divorce will help children understand that the laws are there to protect the rights of everyone involved – parents and children.

The sections on law in the Kids Guide and Teen Guide are excellent resources that clearly explain to children the legal process surrounding separation and divorce. Key words are explained to help children understand what their parents mean when they talk about custody, visiting rights, child support, mediation and divorce. The difference between common-law relationships and marriage is also explained, as well as the fact that the laws on custody and visiting rights are the same in both situations.

The laws on separation and divorce can be difficult for parents too. Visit Éducaloi’s website to learn more about the legal procedure for ending both common-law relationships and marriage in Quebec.