Telling your kids that you are getting divorced is difficult enough – what about sitting down and having a discussion about child custody? A lot of what you say and how you say it depends on the age and maturity of your child, as well as the current state of your relationship with your spouse. However, below are a few tips that all parents can follow when discussing child custody and child visitation with their kids.

•    Reassure your children that they will still have quality time and a quality relationship with each parent. Even if a child will likely be spending more time with one parent, let them know that both parents will go out of their way to have quality time with them and support them. Just because one parent may only have time on the weekends or holidays does not mean that they will drift away.
•    If you already have a visitation schedule in place, share it with them. Children like to have structure and schedules – consider getting them a calendar to follow and speak with them about where big holidays and birthdays will take place. More then anything, children will be looking for stability during this time, not surprises.
•    Make sure your child understands that they can speak with either parent at any time. Even if the parent isn’t physically present, they will be present to speak with on the phone. For older kids, this may be an appropriate time to allow your child to have a cell phone.
•    Give them time to talk about their feelings and ask questions. This discussion should not just be you telling your kids what the future is going to be like – they should have an opportunity to voice their fears and get their questions answered. If they ask tough questions, don’t be afraid to tell them “I don’t know” or “We’re working on it.”
Molly B. Kenny
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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington