What happens next? Information for kids about separation and divorce

Chapter Two: Coming up with a plan for you

Things change for Randy

Every Tuesday and Thursday night and every Saturday during the winter, Randy’s dad took him to hockey. Randy and his dad both loved hockey, and his dad used to be happy to take Randy to his practices and games.

But lately, Randy’s dad didn’t seem very excited about hockey. He didn’t talk much, and even worse, if Randy didn’t do well on the ice, his dad would make him feel bad about how he played. Randy would feel upset.

When he got home, he couldn’t wait to get out of the car. He would go in his room and slam his bedroom door shut.

One night after this happened Randy realized that he hadn’t heard his mom or his dad laugh or talk much for months.

A couple of weeks later, Randy’s mom told him that she was leaving his father and that they would move in with her parents, his grandparents.

He packed his suitcase, and he took his cat Tank with him to his grandparents’ house. He didn’t know what would happen next.

Randy’s mom told him that she and his father would start going to something called mediation, which is a way for separated parents to talk about problems and try to find solutions. For the next three months, they met with a mediator. Randy went to see that person once to explain how he saw things and how he felt about everything that was happening.

After a while Randy’s mom and dad started to seem more like themselves again. Randy still lived with his mom and grandparents, but his dad always took him to hockey. Randy would stay at his dad’s house after his practices and games, and they had fun talking about hockey again.

What's mediation?

Why are Randy's parents going to mediation? What are they hoping to do?

If your parents are having trouble agreeing on important decisions, they may go to mediation instead of going to court or after they've been to court already. Their lawyers or the judge may suggest they do this.

Mediation may help your parents talk to each other better and make better decisions. But what about you? You might not go into the sessions with your parents, but you can share your feelings and wishes with them. Sometimes, the mediator may want to talk to you to find out how you have been doing since your parents separated and about how you see things.

If mediation doesn't work, your parents may have to go to court to get a judge to make important decisions.

Mom leaves Dad and everyone gets help

After Joey and Tasha’s mom left home suddenly, both children had trouble sleeping. Their dad called a counsellor and asked them to meet with the children. Their dad told the counsellor that he and his wife had separated. The counsellor agreed to see the two kids and arranged to see their dad as well. The counsellor also asked to see their mom to get the whole picture. After the counsellor met with each parent, they agreed to work with her to help figure out what sort of parenting arrangement would work best for the children.

In the sessions, the counsellor asked Joey what he liked to do after school, and so he talked about his music. She asked him if he was sleeping well and if he was eating properly. "Dad’s a good cook. He’s the best, but I miss my mom’s cookies," he told her. "Every year, she made them at Christmas. What’s going to happen at Christmas now? Will we see mom? I miss her."

"When I meet with your parents, I’ll explain how much you miss your mom and suggest you see her very soon," the counsellor promised him.

The counsellor met with the parents soon after. She suggested that Joey and Tasha live with their dad during the week and stay with their mom every other weekend. The parents agreed. They went to their lawyers who wrote up a plan for a judge to review. Now that there is a plan in place, Joey and Tasha are finding everything much better.

What's the difference between a train and a teacher?

Answer: The teacher says "spit your gum out" and the train says "choochoo".