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Family and parenting


If your parents no longer want to live with each other, then they separate. If they are married this means that your parents are getting divorced. If your parents want to get divorced then they have to request this from the judge. The judge then officially decides that your parents are separated. Divorce

If your parents get divorced

What will happen? Your life will change because of a divorce. What is the biggest change? That your parents will probably no longer live together. They go and live separately, sometimes somewhere else. You will then live with your father or your mother. Or perhaps with your father for one week and with your mother another week.
Older than 12
Who do you want to live with? You can tell the judge if you are older than 12. This is called ‘the right of the child to be heard’ about his or her opinion. The judge will listen to you and your wishes, but he or she decides. If he or she thinks it would be better of you lived with the other parent then he or she can choose this.
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
What does this convention say about divorce? A child must suffer as little as possible and have as few problems as possible. This is the main rule in a divorce. This is mentioned in article 3 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. If decisions are taken and you are involved then they will first look at what’s good for you. Your interest is the most important thing.  Article 9 Article 9 states that a child has the right to grow up with both parents and have contact with both parents. This is harder when your parents separate and no longer live together. You still have the right to see both your parents as much as possible. Also after the divorce. When isn’t this the case? If it’s not good for you to see both parents, for instance because one of them can’t look after you properly. Article 12 Article 12 states that each child has the right to be heard. This is very important in a court case such as a divorce where a decision is made about a child.
More questions

Questions about the divorce

If your parents get divorced this is often very hard for children. You feel sad and there could be arguments. Your life changes and you may have questions that you can’t always ask or don’t always want to ask your parents. If you have any questions, want to know something or tell something about the divorce of your parents, then you can do the following:
  • The COA has people you can talk to without anyone knowing. This person is called a 'confidant’. You can ask him or her questions or talk to him or her about the divorce of your parents.
  • You can also talk to someone else about the divorce, for instance a school teacher, a friend or a neighbour.
  • At Children’s helpline there are people who help children every day with questions about their life. Many of the questions are about the divorce of parents, so they know very well how to help. You can read more about the Children’s helpline here.
  • On the website you can find a lot of information about what happens exactly after a divorce. You can also get help when writing a letter to the judge. You then say who you would prefer to live with after a divorce.

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