Where’s My Place? When Families go through separation or divorce, it’s normal to wonder where you’ll live.

Hard Decisions

Divorce or separation are issues that need to be dealt with between your parents. When parents decide they don’t want to live together anymore, we say they are separated. When your parents get a divorce, it means they are legally ending their marriage. You are never at fault for your parents’ decisions. Even though parents separate or divorce each other, they are not separating or divorcing you and they still love you as much as ever. When parents decide to separate or divorce, there are a lot of decisions that need to be made about where everyone in the family will now live. One of the major issues is making a new living arrangement for children, meaning deciding who will live where and when. With all this change, it is normal to have a lot of questions as to where you stand, where you’ll be living, and whether you can have a say in certain decisions. This section will clarify some of these important issues.

Changing Spaces

When your parents separate or divorce your current living situation will likely change. There are several options for a new living arrangement, and your parents will try to find the one that works best for you. For example, you may live mostly with one parent, or live an equal amount of time with each parent. However, even if the situation agreed upon is the best one, it may still be a difficult adjustment. One of your parents may move out, or you may move to a different neighbourhood. Remember that there are lots of ways to keep in touch with a parent or guardian, such as by phone, email or video chat. It can be both exciting and stressful if your parents decide that you will spend time more or less equally between their homes. It can be great to have a home to share with each parent, but moving back and forth (especially if the houses are not close to each other!) can be stressful. Be sure to speak to someone you trust if you are finding the situation too challenging or stressful.

Feeling Caught in the Middle?

Sometimes parents may, with or without knowing it, get you involved in their issues. They may try to find information about each other through you, and try to get you to take sides. If you feel caught in the middle or like you are being treated as a ‘messenger’, there are a number of things you can do and say to tell your parents how you feel. Explain how it makes you feel to be caught in the middle, and that they need to work out their issues on their own. Be firm that you don’t want to be a ‘spy’ – if a parent wants information, they can ask for it themselves. Situations like this can be very difficult and it is important to tell your parents how this is making you feel.

Examples of New Living Arrangements

  • Stacey lives with her mom in St. John’s for the school year and spends most of the summer with her other mom in Gander.
  • Kyle stays with his dad in Carbonear during the week but spends weekends with his mom in Mount Pearl.
  • Samantha lives with her dad in Marystown all the time and sees her mom in Wabush once or twice a year on special occasions.
  • John lives with his grandparents in Corner Brook and visits his dad in Ontario during the summer.
  • Alison lives with her foster parents in Mount Pearl and visits her aunt, uncle, and cousins in Goose Bay during the holidays.

As you can see, there are many options for living arrangements. No option is better than another. Your parents will find the one that fits best for your family.