There is a lot to consider when telling your children about your divorce. The steps you take can have a big impact on their life now and in the future. One mistake, even a minor one, can alter your child’s life forever.

There is no right or wrong way to tell your children about your divorce. There are definitely tips you can follow to ensure that you’re on the right track. Here are five things you probably want to do:

  • Have a plan: Don’t go into this difficult conversation without a clear idea of what you want to say and how you want to say it. Practice makes perfect, so be sure to plan out the details of your conversation.
  • Choose the right time: It’s hard to know what will happen, so plan the right time and place to discuss your divorce with your children.
  • Honesty is the best policy: You don’t have to tell your children everything about your relationship and divorce, but you should definitely keep things honest throughout the conversation. Lying is not going to make things easier on anyone.
  • Answer every question: Even if it doesn’t make sense to you, answering every question is important to ensure that your children feel okay with where things stand in regard to their future. Some questions will be more difficult to answer than others, but you can’t shy away from any of them.
  • Stay prepared: Just because you tell your children about your divorce doesn’t mean it will be the end of things. Most children have follow-up questions, and you need to make yourself available to them. It’s not always easy to regularly discuss your divorce with your children, but it’s for their well-being.

If you think you can say whatever you want when telling your children about your divorce, it could backfire on you. The last thing you want to do is say something that makes an already bad situation worse on your children.

Once you put this conversation in the past, you’ll feel more comfortable moving forward with the divorce process. At this point, you can focus most of your attention on protecting your legal rights, negotiating with your soon-to-be ex-spouse and bringing closure to your marriage.