Talking To Your Teens About Divorce
By Heather Baker-Mushkatel on December 3, 2013
If you have teenagers, you have likely already realized that you will need to talk to them about your plans for divorce. Your teen(s) may already realize that your relationship with your spouse is strained, and it is appropriate for you to discuss the future with your child(ren).
Talking to teens about divorce presents both benefits and drawbacks. Unlike younger children, teens are more capable of discussing the dynamics of a contemplated divorce. Still, teens may feel the loss of a divorce in a profound way as they watch a family they have known for years – perhaps the only family unit they have ever had – change drastically.
Reassuring your teen(s) that he or she is not responsible for the divorce, for your feelings, or for the feelings of the other parent may help stabilize the process. In addition, try to avoid utilizing your teen as an emotional sounding board to speak negatively of your spouse to your teen(s).
Arizona allows children to participate in custody decisions if the child is old enough to understand the process and provide input, but such participation is typically avoided if at all possible. Some teens will want to tell the court which parent they would prefer to live with, while others will want nothing to do with the situation. Discuss all plans with your attorney before agreeing to any final decision.
At Mushkatel, Robbins & Becker, PLLC, our experienced Arizona family law attorneys will help you navigate the process with the resources you need to make a fresh start and provide the best possible future for yourself and your children. Contact us today to learn more.
Heather Baker-Mushkatel is an Arizona native who focuses in the area of family at Mushkatel, Robbins & Becker, PLLC. Heather also has substantial experience in criminal defense law, including a background as a public defender in Maricopa County. Heather earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and obtained her Juris Doctorate from Brooklyn Law School. She is a highly active member of state and local bar associations who has served on several panels to educate young lawyers and law students.