Many parents, trying to shield their children from the realities of an adult world, choose not to tell their kids that they are getting a divorce until they absolutely have to. Some even wait until one parent actually moves out of the house to explain what is happening.

In some regards, it can be wise to wait. You do not want to break the news before you know that it’s definitely going to happen. You don’t have to tell the kids that you’ve been talking about divorce if no one has filed the paperwork yet.

However, as soon as you are 100 percent sure that you are going to end your marriage, then you want to break the news to the kids. Do not keep it to yourself or put it off just to protect them.

The problem is that they may already know that something is wrong. Children are very intuitive and perceptive, often seeing and understanding far more than their parents realize. Older children may actually understand that divorce is coming, while younger children simply know something is wrong. Either way, it can create emotional turmoil for them, and having a conversation can help.

Plus, you never want the news to leak to them from someone else. It should come from you and your spouse. That’s why it is wise to tell all of the kids at once, to make sure that one child does not break the news to the others.

As you and your spouse get closer to divorce, take the time to look into all of your legal rights.