Separation and Divorce

Separation and divorce are hard for everyone. Help your children through this difficult period by spending as much time with them as you can and giving them lots of love. Encourage them to enjoy their time with their other parent. Let them know that the breakup is not their fault.

For your child’s sake, try to get along with your former partner. Talk about your child, share information and solve parenting problems together when you can. There are many ways to be a good parent. What’s most important for your child is loving care from each parent.

For Parents with Disabilities
With specialized babycare equipment, Denise is able to carry both children.

Shawna is working at home...
Shawna is working at home for a while to help her child adjust to the separation.

Parenting with Your Child’s Other Parent

  • Commit to a regular schedule of time with each parent.
  • Share information and be open to information from the other parent.
  • Know that children can adapt well to living in two places if they get consistent, loving care.
  • If you are new to parenting, slowly increase your time with your child until you become more comfortable. Take a parenting class or get more help from relatives.
  • If you have doubts about your ex-partner’s caregiving skills, be clear about your concerns and say what needs to change.
  • Allow each parent time to learn parenting skills.
  • Do what you say you are going to do. Trust is important.
  • Join a support group for single parents. Visit

Separation and Divorce Tom says, “I love my Saturday mornings with Alyssa. We usually go to the park and the grocery
store together.”

Find Routines

Routines help children feel secure. They also help you manage a busy schedule. Find things to do together
regularly, like chores and reading bedtime stories. Talk to your child’s other parent about the routines you follow with your child.

Things You Can Do

Where to Find Help

Learn More

Richard and his Daughter
Richard and his daughter live with Richard’s mother. “Mom takes care of Selena during the day. I do all the evening and weekend care. I feel so lucky to have this time with my baby.”


  • Creating a new family is often hard. Give children time to get used to new siblings and adults. Discuss roles and rules before you move in together. If you’re a stepparent, don’t be afraid to give your stepchild love and direction. For referrals to sup-port groups for stepfamilies, call National Stepfamily Resource Center. Visit

Spend Time with Your Children

  • Your time and affection are the most important things you can give your children. If your children don’t see you, they will think it’s because you don’t love them anymore. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on gifts and outings—just spend time together.