Divorce Do's and Don'ts | The Village Family Service Center

The Village Family Service Center

Divorce Do's and Don'ts

Friday, December 7, 2018
Divorce is difficult for everyone. Parents can take steps to ease the transition for children.

Divorce is difficult for everyone in the family. Kelly Olson, The Village's Chief Clinical Officer, suggests some things to do – and not do – when a marriage is ending that are in the best interest of your children.


  1. Allow your child to love your ex unconditionally without your voice in their head saying all of the horrible things your ex has done.
  2. Get professional help for you or your children if you are having a difficult time dealing with the divorce. 
  3. Seek divorce co-parenting counseling if you are having problems resolving conflict.
  4. Try to avoid making major changes following a divorce. 
  5. Talk with your children. Ask them if they are doing OK. Ask if they would like to talk about their feelings. Open the door to communication.
  6. Take a moment and breathe. Appreciate the significant life changes you and your children have just endured. Give yourself some time to adjust to all the changes.
  7. Allow your child time to still engage in their regular activities. You may want your visitation to be 100% spent with you, but your children still need to attend other events that are important to them. 
  8. Get legal advice.
  9. Be flexible with your child and your ex. Try to cooperate as best you can.


  1. Don’t tell you child the whole story about why you are getting a divorce.
  2. Don’t put your children in middle. Asking their opinion on how to handle things it not fair to your child.
  3. Don’t send messages through your children. If you have a message, pick up the phone and talk with your ex about it yourself.
  4. Don’t have conflict in front of your children.
  5. Avoid calling your ex names or saying other degrading things in front of your children.
  6. Don’t try to remove all of your ex’s belongings or any remembrance of your ex from your child’s home or life. 
  7. Don’t introduce a new significant other too soon after the divorce or too soon into the new relationship.
  8. Don’t make promises or plans with the kids before discussion with your ex.

Therapists at The Village can help families navigate through difficult transitions like divorce. Find a location near you or request an appointment online.