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

Divorcef

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:
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:
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:
What is the difference between separation and divorce?
A:

When two people have been living together and they decide not to live together anymore, they are separated. However, when married people separate, their marriage has not yet ended. They have to get a divorce to legally end a marriage. Common-law couples don't have to get a divorce, because there is no marriage to end.

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:
What will my friends say when they find out?
A:

Lots of teens worry about breaking the news to their friends. But separation and divorce are very common these days.

Good friends will be glad you've told them. You're still you, even though your family is changing.

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.