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Divorce and Separation Resources For Children

This page is for children and young people whose parents have split up or are splitting up.

What is divorce and separation?

When parents are no longer together, you may hear it being called either getting ‘divorced’ or ‘separating’.

Separating normally means that two people will no longer be in relationship or live in the same house anymore.

Divorce is what happens when married parents decide they don’t want to be legally married anymore. Getting divorced may happen at the same time as your parents separating but it might happen later.

Divorce can take a long time because parents have a lot of decisions to make. When two people are married, they will need to discuss and decide on what happens to property and money and how these are to be split between them. Parents may need help from other professionals such as solicitors as to how to go about dealing with money and property. The solicitor is there to help parents agree on what will work best.

Parents who aren’t married may still have decisions to make such as what happens to the family home or car.

Laura Clapton

Laura Clapton
Family Solicitor & Family Mediator

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What about me?

When parents split up, it is important for them to consider how their children will spend time with each of them.

Your parents will have to decide who you will live with and how much time you will spend with each of them. This could mean:

  • A child lives primarily with one parent and sees the other parent at specific times such as on weekends;
  • parents may decide to split the time their children spend with them more equally for example spending a few days a week with each parent;
  • parents may need to discuss special events such as going on holiday, birthdays and Christmas or other religious festivities.

Whilst these decisions are for your parents to make, you can discuss these things with them and let them know what you would like to happen as this will help them understand your feelings.

Your wishes and feelings

Having your parents split up is a very emotional time. You’ll probably experience a lot of different strong feelings including being upset, sad, angry or confused. All of these are perfectly normal and are to be expected when such a big change is happening in your life.

One of the best things to help you feel better is to talk about how you feel. It is important you talk to your parents, so that they understand how you are feeling. If you want to talk to other people that is helpful too and you can talk to anyone who you feel comfortable talking to such as:

  • Someone in your family, like an aunt, uncle or cousin
  • A good friend
  • A teacher that you get on well with
  • Someone you know whose parents have also split up
  • A professional such as a family mediator or family therapist with your parents’ consent.

If you want to talk but don’t know what to say, it might help for you to write it down and express your feelings that way or draw a picture of how you are feeling. It’s also okay if sometimes you don’t want to talk, sometimes you might want to do something else to take your mind off things. Just make sure that if you are upset or worried that you let someone know so they can help you feel better.

You must always remember that your parents splitting up is not your fault. Parents split up for lots of different reasons but always remember it is between your parents and nothing you have done. Your parents still love you and you will always be a family but it is just a matter of changing shape.

Help and Resources

Below are some resources which may help you when you are experiencing parents splitting up.

Voices in the middle

Voices in the Middle is a collaboration between young people, the family law & mediation sector and The Family Initiative charity to provide a dedicated place for young people to find help and support when in the middle of divorce and separation.

Home – Voices in The Middle – For Young People When Parents Split Up


CAFCASS provides information to children of separating parents. They have two different leaflets depending on your age.

They also have story books which will help you to understand what is happening and how you feel.

ChildLine offer help to everyone under 19 Contacting Childline | Childline

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