Families Change Teen Guide to Separation & Divorce

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Some teens feel embarrassed when their parents split up.

They might be embarrassed because their feelings are so strong, like it's not "cool" to be upset. But the feelings are natural, and the best thing to do is to accept them and do what you can to feel better.

Teens might also be worried about what other people will think. But splitting-up are very common these days. In Canada, between 25% and 33% of marriages end in divorce. That means many people have been through it themselves or know someone who has.

See Breaking the News for some tips on telling your friends.

Q & R

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.

Q:
Will I be able to spend time with both parents?
A:

In most cases, children get to spend time with both parents. How much time you spend with each parent and exactly how that will work depends on your parents’ custody and visiting arrangements.

Remember: Parents divorce each other, not their children. Your parents are still your parents, and they still love you.

Q:
My parents never married. Do they have to go through the same process that married parents do when they split up?
A:

Common-law parents — parents who chose to live together without getting married — don't get a divorce because there is no marriage to end. But they do need to decide what will happen to their children and how they’ll divide their property.

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 is the difference between legal separation and divorce?
A:

When two people who are married decide to split up, they need to get a divorce to legally end their marriage.

They can also decide to get a legal separation and divide up their property. They have to go to court for this, but this does not end the marriage. Divorce is the only way to end a marriage. To learn more about “legal separation” visit Éducaloi’s website.