Divorce and separation

Sometimes people who are married or in a relationship decide to split up, separate or divorce. This can happen for many different reasons. It's not your fault and you shouldn't blame yourself. Whatever you're going through, we're here for you.

parent's arguments

All people in relationships argue sometimes. But if it seems that your parents or carers are acting differently to usual, it can be worrying.

There are lots of reasons your parents might be arguing. And you might wonder if they don't love each other anymore. But whatever their reason, it's not your fault.

Talking to your parents can help them to realise how you've been feeling, and will give them a chance to talk to you about what's happening. And if you don't feel like you can, you can contact us anytime.

4 things you should know:

  • there are lots of reasons why people divorce or separate
  • it can be really hard adjusting to the change
  • it's not your fault
  • we're here to talk.

why people split up

There are lots of reasons why parents decide to separate.

Some couples need time and space to work out their problems. And others might find it hard to get on with each other.

Sometimes there might be difficult issues they need to work out, such as an affair, abuse or something else.

Whatever the reason, it can be hard to cope with your feelings. But talking to an adult you trust or contacting us can help.

Will they split up forever? 

Sometimes parents can split up temporarily and sometimes it can be permanent.

But if two people do decide to break up permanently, it's often because they can't find a way to work out their problems. Or they don't feel they can live with each other anymore. Sometimes splitting up can lead to a more peaceful and happier home situation for everyone.

how Separation and divorce are different


Separation (or splitting up) is when two adults decide to live apart and end their relationship. This could just be for a short time or they may decide to split up forever.


Getting a divorce is when two people decide to end their marriage. This means that they are free to marry someone else in the future if they want to. 

coping with changes

It can be really difficult getting used to your parents or carers going through a divorce or separation.

You might have to:

  • move house, away from your friends or family
  • change schools
  • give up your belongings or a pet 
  • separate from a sibling or another relative.

It's normal to feel hurt and confused in this situation. You might also feel anxiousangrylonely or depressed.

You might cope with these feelings by self-harming or having an eating disorder. But you don't have to go through these feelings alone. We're here to help.

who decides what happens next?

You might worry about what will happen to you after your parents or carers separate or divorce.

Even though sometimes your parents may decide differently, it's important that you're able to talk about how you feel. Usually your parents will decide where you will live, and how often you'll see your other parent.

If your parents can't decide

When parents can't agree about who you'll live with, they might need help from a lawyer, social worker or a mediator.

A mediator is someone who's there to help make sure you're looked after and that everyone is listened to fairly. They'll talk to your parents and try to get them to agree a plan for what will happen next. The mediator will talk through all the options. And they'll ask you what you want, too.

You might find this scary. But they're just trying to work out what's best for you and your family. You can get free legal advice if you're worried or unsure about procedures from the Children's legal centre

it's good to talk