If you’re getting divorced, you have probably heard that you need to tell your children that it is not their fault. To you, this may seem pointless. It’s clearly not their fault, and you clearly still love them. They would never think they caused it, right?

The truth, though, is that they often do. They may misinterpret events. They may draw their own conclusions. They may just feel emotional about the whole event, not know how to deal with that and assume it means that they made some sort of mistake.

They can also take things out of context. Perhaps you and your spouse got into an argument about when they should do their homework. They saw the disagreement. They then did poorly on a test, and it was clear that the homework rules were not getting the job done.

A week later, you announced to the children that you and your spouse were getting a divorce. It obviously has nothing to do with that argument. You probably forgot all about it. But to a child, that was one of the biggest events of the last week. They saw how it made you and your spouse argue, and now the marriage is over. They may connect the dots and decide that their poor performance in school is the reason for the divorce.

Is it logical? Of course not. But this is why you need to stress to children that the divorce wasn’t something they caused, even when you think they should already know that.

Once you do break the divorce news, be sure you understand your legal rights.