My parents are separated and probably will get a divorce. What do I need to know?

By Kaz Cooke
From the latest edition
of Girl Stuff 13+

My parents are separated and probably will get a divorce. What do I need to know?

Lots of teenagers have parents who separate or divorce (the legal version of separation).

Often the people separating are very sad, and sometimes also feel angry with each other, guilty about the break-up of the family and worried about the future. There might be another adult involved because one of the partners has started a new relationship, but sometimes the two people separating just don’t want to be together any more.

Family breakdowns can happen really quickly, and you might have had no idea that anything was wrong before you were told. This can make it hard for you to understand why your parents want to separate, or make you believe that it isn’t necessary, but usually adults have thought long and hard about it before they’ve decided.

  • Separation or divorce is not caused by you, even if your parents sometimes argued about your behaviour. It’s caused when adults don’t want to be together any more, and that’s never a kid’s fault.
  • You have a right to be upset about such a huge change in your life, which you did not ask for or cause.
  • You shouldn’t be asked by either parent to ‘take sides’.
  • You have a right to ask one of your parents not to criticise the other in front of you.
  • Your parents are separating from, or divorcing, each other, but they will always be your parents.
  • You have a right to continue to see both parents, and both sets of grandparents, if you want to.

For more advice on parents, divorce and separation get the book, Girl Stuff 13+: Your Full-on Guide to the Teen Years.