What happens next? Information for kids about separation and divorce

Introduction

So… your parents have decided to split up. You probably have a lot of questions, like "What does this mean for me?" and "Do I still have a family?" or "Will I always feel this bad?" or "Will anyone listen to me?"

You're not alone. A lot of other kids have wondered the same things.

"Divorce is about the law and about feelings".

Some of the information in this booklet is about the law* and the legal system*.

In Canada, family law is a bit different in each province and territory. That's why this booklet can only cover very general information. Look at the back of this booklet for books and websites that will give you more information. Or, ask someone close to you to help you get the answers you need. The legal words are explained at the end of the booklet.

The rest of the information in the booklet is about thoughts and feelings. The short stories will show you what other kids have been through when their parents split up. These stories won't be the same as the story of your own family because every family is different. But, they may help you figure out your own feelings.

Near the end of the booklet are some activities that you can try doing. Find the ones you think would help you. Try to have some fun while you do them.

There is a lot of information in this booklet. If you don't know where to start, try asking someone you trust (your parents, a relative or even a teacher) to read it with you.

You can take your time reading this booklet and you can take your time thinking about it. If you want, you can read part of it now, and save the rest for later. It's up to you.

You may find parts of the booklet upsetting. Usually, it's a good idea to talk to someone you trust when things worry or upset you. But, you may decide it wouldn't be a good idea for you to do that right now. You can talk to someone later, but only if you want to.

Remember…

  • Your family has changed, but you're still part of a family.
  • You didn't cause your parents to split up.
  • You don't have to choose between your parents just because they don't live together.
  • It's normal to be sad or even angry after your parents split up.
  • Find someone you trust to talk to.
  • You are not alone; many children go through this.
  • You may have friends whose parents have split up. Your experience won't be exactly the same as theirs because there's no-one else quite like you. You are unique. Your thoughts and feelings are important.
  • And remember, your voice counts!

Why are potatoes good detectives?

Answer: Because they keep their eyes peeled.

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