Families Change Teen Guide to Separation & Divorce

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What's Happening

When people decide to live together and have kids, they hope they’ll be together forever. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work out that way. Life can get pretty complicated. Sometimes, problems come up — not just little everyday problems, like who’s going to take out the garbage, but big problems that parents just can't seem to solve, no matter how hard they try.

When a couple decides not to live together anymore, they split up.

If they are married and want to completely end their marriage, they need to get a divorce. They can also decide to get a legal separation, but this does not end the marriage.

You can find out more about the differences between separation and divorce, and what is involved in the Law section.

Q & R

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

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!

Will I be able to spend time with both parents?

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.