What happens next? Information for kids about separation and divorce

Note to parents and those with parenting responsibilities for children

This booklet has two purposes. First, it's meant to help children learn some basic facts about family law and give them an idea of the processes that parents may go through when they separate.

Second, it's meant to help children realize that it's normal for them to have an emotional response to the divorce of their parents. The booklet encourages children to think about talking to someone they trust — like parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts or family friends, neighbours or someone from their community, such as their school, church, synagogue or mosque.

The language and activities in the booklet are designed for children. However, some children may need help reading the booklet.

Other children may want help. They may want an adult they trust to work through the booklet with them — helping them understand key legal concepts and cope with any sense of loss, anger, confusion or anxiety.

The booklet is designed to be read all the way through or just in chapters. Kids can read only the chapters that interest them. They can always go back to other chapters later if they need to.

Because this is a booklet for children, a lot of technical, legal information has been left out. This booklet only provides very general information because family law is a complex subject and some aspects of family law are different in each Canadian province and territory.

A section listing more sources of information and sources of support has been included near the end of the booklet. This list will help kids and adults find ways to get more information.

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