On Your Mind: The timing of a divorce


Dear Tom,

I know there’s never a “good time” for getting a divorce, but is it wise to delay it for the kids’ benefit? My husband and I agree that we won’t stay together long-term. Our kids are in college and high school and the youngest will graduate in a year and a half. My husband wants to go forward with the divorce now, but I’d like to wait  until after our youngest graduates so we don’t mess up his senior year of school. My husband and I don’t fight and there hasn’t been any cheating, as far as I know. We’re just not in love and have been more like roommates for a while now. Should we wait or get it over with now?

Dear Mom,

You’re right – there never is a good time for a divorce. But before we get to what timing is the best, I would want you and your husband to decide for sure that a divorce is what you really want and both agree. You say you “agree you won’t stay together long-term,” but just to make sure I would recommend that you and your husband meet with a counselor to “confirm” that decision. Also, assuming you agree to go forward with a divorce, then the counselor can help you determine how and when you want to disclose that decision to your children.

Divorce is hard on a child of any age, even an adult child. However, continuing a relationship where a couple is “more like roommates” is also a factor. Children know or sense when things are not going so well between parents. Waiting to get a divorce may be as disconcerting or confusing to a child, as actually announcing that decision and moving forward.

One key factor is open communication. If you and your husband ultimately decide divorce is the course you will follow, then please make sure you communicate clearly to both of your children at the same time and ask for their input or comments. Keep communication open and continue to emphasize that the decision to divorce was not the fault or cause of your children. Even adult children will wonder what role or factor they may have had in their parents’ decision to get a divorce. Seek guidance of a counselor regarding communication with your children.

Best wishes to you.


Tom Petrizzo serves as CEO of Ozark Guidance and has degrees in social work and law. You can reach Ozark Guidance at 479-750-2020.  Tom has spent the last 20 years managing non-profit centers in Texas, Kansas, Colorado and Arkansas. He has also served as adjunct faculty at the social work graduate program at three large universities. He’s married to Teri Classick, a licensed clinical social worker, and they have two daughters. When he’s not at work, Tom likes to jog, bike ride, read and he even belted out the National Anthem lately at a Northwest Arkansas Naturals Game!

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Disclaimer:  This RESPONSE does not provide medical advice It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on nwaMotherlode or Ozark Guidance websites.