Families Change
Parent Guide to Separation & Divorce

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How do I talk to my kids about the law?

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You may or may not be having disputes about the legal details of your divorce or separation. Either way, be careful when you talk about the legal issues in front of your children.

Your family is your child’s whole world. Your kids might be scared when they hear you talk about things like:

  • custody (called ”parental rights and responsibilities” in Vermont)
  • parent-child contact (sometimes referred to as “visitation”)
  • mediation
  • divorce
  • child support
  • going to court

If your children are young, they may not understand much about these legal terms or why “the law” needs to be involved. Your older kids or children with friends who have divorced parents might be more sensitive to hearing you talk about these things.

So be careful when you talk to your kids about these legal issues. These legal conversations might be the first time your children realize you really are getting divorced. Listen to what they are feeling and answer their questions in a caring and supportive way.

Maybe your children will feel more comfortable about the legal process if they know that it exists to help bring some order to the changes. And the laws are meant to protect everyone’s rights.

Your kids should read the law sections of the Kids' Guide and Teen Guide. These sections explain:

  • the legal process surrounding divorce and parental rights cases.
  • what it means to divorce and how the process is different if parents aren’t married.
  • parental rights and responsibilities.
  • parenting time.
  • child support.
  • Mediation.

You might be intimidated by the laws surrounding separation and divorce, too. That’s OK. These laws can be confusing! Visit the VTLawHelp.org website or the Vermont Judiciary website to learn more details about the legal process and how to prepare for it.