Sometimes, couples make the decision that being together is no longer the right choice for them. This can be a difficult time for everyone involved.

What does it mean to divorce or separate?

If a couple gets a divorce, this means they are no longer married. They are then free to get married again if they choose to. 

If a couple separates, they agree that they no longer want to be together. A couple can apply to get a divorce after they have been separated for a certain length of time.

There are some important things to remember if your parents or guardians decide to divorce or separate:

It is not your fault

There are lots of different reasons why couples decide that they no longer want to be together. Whatever they decide, it is important to know that their divorce or separation is not your fault.

This might not be the end

A separation may or may not be the very end of a relationship.

Is this the best thing for all?

Sometimes, a separation or divorce is the best thing for everyone and will mean everyone can have a better life.

Changes at home

You are likely to experience a lot of different feelings when a divorce or separation happens. You might feel angry, sad, confused or something different. 

It may be hard at the beginning to understand what changes will happen in your life as a result of the divorce or separation. You are likely to have lots of questions. 

Your parents or guardians are likely to have worked out some of the changes that will happen. If they can’t agree, then a mediator, lawyer, or social worker, might help them to come up with a plan that will work. 

It is important that you talk about how you feel and what you would like to happen. It can take time to get used to changes, but you are not alone and you can get support

Some of the changes you might experience are:

Living arrangements

You might live with one parent or carer instead of two.

Moving house

You might move house, or you might live between two houses.

Changing school

You might end up changing school.

Making different friends

You might make new friends at a new school, house or neighbourhood and you might not see your old friends as much.


You might find that you have a new routine.

You have a right to support

Rainbows Ireland is a free service for children and young people experiencing loss following bereavement and parental separation. Click the link above to see if there is a centre in your area. 

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