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When to tell the children?

(8 Posts)
LimeJellyforBrains Fri 28-Sep-12 11:32:39

I am hoping for some wise advice from you lovely women.
H and I are getting divorced. We have started the legal process. We have 2 boys aged 12 and 9. We will need to put the house on the market, preferably at the end of October.

He does not want to tell the children yet. He argues that it may take months to sell the house and to find 2 other houses. He says we cannot afford for him to move out in the meantime. Therefore we should put the house on the market without telling them and only tell them when we have an offer accepted. He wanted to tell them about 2 months before actually moving to the new houses but I pointed out I want them to be part of choosing a new house with me.

I feel this is very dishonest and they will feel betrayed when they are finally told. I want to tell them now. Part of getting the house ready to sell is going to involve having their bedrooms redecorated. They want to choose their own paint colours and the 12 year old is trying to choose quite bright, dark colours which are, of course, a no-no. I have already heard him complain to his father that he chose a colour but "Mum won't let me have it" (H denies having heard this). The decorator is coming next week.

The house also needs radical decluttering if we are going to fit into a smaller house. I feel they need to know why the house is going to look so different before the end of October. H is taking them away to visit his mother for most of half term including the last Saturday so his idea is that I get the house ready to sell and an Open Day happens the day before they come back.

At what stage did you tell your children? Our situation is a bit unusual in that we could be living together in the same house for months before we are able to move. (I would prefer him to move out sooner). What do you think? Help please!

Wigeon Fri 28-Sep-12 11:40:55

Aren't you going to have to lie a lot to them to cover up the house sale? Eg: people viewing the house, estate agents ringing up, letters from estate agents arriving, the de-cluttering, definitely the bedroom room colour (if I was 12 I'd be really annoyed if you hadn't let me choose my own colour for no apparent reason).

You might not get an offer at the Open Day, so you might well need to have lots of other viewings - I don't think you'd be able to manage the whole sale process in secret given the age of your children.

Why can't your H move into rented immediately? You are going to have to maintain two households at some point, so why not now?

Wigeon Fri 28-Sep-12 11:42:13

(I should say that I don't have personal experience of a separation/ divorce as a wife, but my parents separated and subsequently divorced, so I have some experience as a child of it all)

NorthernGobshite Fri 28-Sep-12 11:44:27

I think your children are old enough to be told now, otherwise I think they will feel lied to. And how do you hide the fact your house is for sale?

ShabbyChit Fri 28-Sep-12 12:03:52

I agree with you -
I would tell them now TBH, they are old enough to understand (esp the 12 yo) and I'm not sure how you would be able to hide the house being on the market from them?
For sale board up, estate agents and potential buyers coming round etc.
It will be a horrible shock if you suddenly say...by the way someone else is moving in to our house and we have to move out.

I think they will be hurt, confused and upset not only about their parents parting but also being kicked out of their own familiar home with no real notice! They need time to adjust to the thought of not living at 'home' anymore.

They might be quite bitter and not feel at home in either of the new places if they haven't had a say in choosing them.

My parents split up and started divorce proceedings when me and my siblings were around the same age as your DC.
We went to view potential new houses with them, etc.
I distinctly remember thinking the only positive part of them splitting is that I got (2) nice new shiny houses and I was promised a lovely new room, decorated however I wanted. (After living in an old crumbling house that needed a lot of work and sharing a room with my sister all my life until then) That is partly what got me through it TBH <shallow>

Good luck, I hope it all goes smoothly for you!

Collaborate Fri 28-Sep-12 12:59:36

I'd tell them now. They'll only cotton on that you're not telling them something and resent you for it.

LimeJellyforBrains Fri 28-Sep-12 13:49:57

Thank you so much for all your replies, which back up my gut instinct. My trouble is I am far too reasonable and can always see too many points of view!

We both feel our point of view is in the best interests of the children. Me to be honest with them, him to spare them the worry until necessary.

My only concern is that the house won't be ready to catch the beginning of November 'deadline' when the market effectively shuts down and that, having told them, nothing will actually be happening until early next year.

As to selling the house, we weren't intending to have a board, but I was worried about the need for additional viewings after the Open Day, and had not thought about the letters and phonecalls, which would mainly be while they're at school, but any calls early evening will indeed put me in a very tight spot.

bml12 Mon 08-Oct-12 14:34:30

Hi - We told our 17 and 12 yr olds last Sunday and it was the worst day of my life. We told them that we were splitting up but then hit them with the awful news that the house would have to be sold after living here for 10 years.

That has tipped them over the edge but couldnt not tell them the truth. Estate agents have been round whilst i have taken the kids out so not to put them through that trauma and we have decided not to have a board up so they don't come home from school to that either.

They do need to know but be prepared for a very emotion time

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