Families Change
Teen Guide to Separation & Divorce

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What's Happening

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When people decide to live together and have children, they hope they will be together for a long time. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work out that way. Life can get pretty complicated. Sometimes problems come up—and not just the little everyday problems like who is going to take out the garbage. They can be big problems that parents just can't seem to solve, no matter how hard they try.

Parents separate when they can't solve their problems, and they decide they can't live together anymore.

Some married parents who separate decide to get a divorce, because they no longer want to be married.

Look in the Law section to learn about the differences between separation and divorce, as well as what is involved in both.

Q & A

Q:
I'm feeling guilty. Was there something I did to cause it?
A:

You are not the reason for your parents splitting up. Parents split up because of problems in their relationship.

It's not your fault!

Q:
Will I be able to spend time with both parents?
A:

In the vast majority of cases, children get to spend time with both parents. How much time you spend with each parent, and exactly how that will work, depends on your custody and access arrangements.

Q:
My parents are splitting up. Why?
A:

There are many reasons why parents decide to split up. And with each couple, there might be one main reason, or a whole pile of reasons.

Parents usually try very hard to solve their problems before they take action. If you're not sure what your parents' reasons are for splitting up, you can always ask.