When you decide to divorce, your attention will turn to things such as property division, child custody, child support and alimony. It’s important to focus on all these details, but not before you talk to your children about what’s going on.

Telling your children about your divorce is one of the most difficult things you’ll ever do. Even if they see it coming, you’ll still face some challenges along the way.

Here are some tips you can follow when talking to your children about your divorce:

  • Have a plan: Don’t go into the conversation assuming that you know what you’ll say. It’s easy to freeze up during this discussion, so have a plan that provides guidance from start to finish.
  • Schedule the right time: You want to inform your children as soon as possible, so you may be tempted to jump the gun and have this conversation the first chance you get. Rather than do this, look for a time that makes sense for you and your children. Find a quiet place where you can chat for as long as necessary.
  • Answer questions: Just as you have many questions about the divorce process, you can expect your children to as well. Even if you don’t have a good answer, do your best to provide your children with feedback. Hiding from a question will only make things worse.
  • Don’t assume that one conversation is enough: It’s good to get everything out on the table, but don’t assume that your children won’t have follow up questions in the future. Let them know that you’re available to talk at any time.
  • Be honest about what’s happening: You want to shield your children from bad things, but lying about your divorce will only complicate your situation. When you’re open and honest it’s much better for everyone.

At first glance, you may struggle with the thought of following through on some of these tips. However, once you’re preparing for the conversation and chatting with your children, everything will fall into place.

Once your children know what’s happening, you’re feel more comfortable turning your attention to the divorce process and the many things that you can do to protect your legal rights.