Families Change Teen Guide to Separation & Divorce

What

What Is Happening?

Why It's Happening

It's Not Your Fault

Changes

What Might Change

What Won't Change

Still Your Family

Getting On With Your Life

Emotions

How You Feel

Acting Out

Feeling Better

When To Get Help

Resources

People

Help Lines

More Resources

Strategies

Rights & Responsibilities

Speak Up!

Caught In The Middle

Dealing With It

Abuse At home

Law

Separation

Divorce

Court

Custody & Access

What

What Is Happening?

Why It's Happening

It's Not Your Fault

Resources

People

Help Lines

More Resources

Changes

What Might Change

What Won't Change

Still Your Family

Getting On With Your Life

Strategies

Rights & Responsibilities

Speak Up!

Caught In The Middle

Dealing With It

Abuse At home

Law

Separation

Divorce

Court

Custody & Access

Emotions

How You Feel

Acting Out

Feeling Better

When To Get Help

FAQ

What

What Is Happening?

Why It's Happening

It's Not Your Fault

What

What Is Happening?

Why It's Happening

It's Not Your Fault

Resources

People

Help Lines

More Resources

Resources

People

Help Lines

More Resources

Changes

What Might Change

What Won't Change

Still Your Family

Getting On With Your Life

Changes

What Might Change

What Won't Change

Still Your Family

Getting On With Your Life

Strategies

Rights & Responsibilities

Speak Up!

Caught In The Middle

Dealing With It

Abuse At home

Strategies

Rights & Responsibilities

Speak Up!

Caught In The Middle

Dealing With It

Abuse At home

Law

Separation

Divorce

Court

Custody & Access

Law

Separation

Divorce

Court

Custody & Access

Emotions

How You Feel

Acting Out

Feeling Better

When To Get Help

Emotions

How You Feel

Acting Out

Feeling Better

When To Get Help

FAQ

FAQ

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:
My parents never married. Do they have to go through the same process that married parents do when they split up?
A:

Common-law parents — parents who chose to live together without getting married — don't have to get a divorce, because there is no marriage to end. But they do need to decide what will happen to their children and how they will divide their property.

Q:
I'm feeling really upset and confused about my parents splitting up. Is this normal?
A:

It's natural — and entirely normal — to experience some intense emotions. You will feel better over time. There are lots of ways to help yourself feel better, and people who can help you if you need it.

Q:
Do I have to take sides, or choose one parent over the other?
A:

No, you don't. You have the right to love and be loved by both parents.

If you are feeling pressured to take sides, and you feel you are caught in the middle of your parents' problems, tell them.

Q:
Who decides who I will live with?
A:

Ideally, your parents will make the decisions together about who you will live with and how that will work. Your opinion should be taken into account.

If they can't decide themselves, they might go to a mediator for help in reaching an agreement. Or they might have to go to court and have a judge make the decisions for them.

Teen Guide

Welcome to A Teen Guide to Parental Separation and Divorce. If your parents have recently separated or divorced (or you think they may be about to), or you have a friend in that situation, this site is for you.

Parental separation and divorce are hard on teens. One thing that can help is information about what separation and divorce mean in Canada, and how they might affect you.

The purpose of this site is to provide you with that information. The site is not intended to provide therapy, support or legal advice.

Do you have younger brothers or sisters? If so, get them to check out the Kids Guide.