What Is Happening?

What Is Happening?

Why It's Happening

It's Not Your Fault

Changes

What Might Change

What Won't Change

Still Your Family

Getting On With Your Life

Emotions

How You Feel

Acting Out

Feeling Better

When To Get Help

Resources

People

Help Lines

More Resources

Strategies

Rights & Responsibilities

Speak Up!

Caught In The Middle

Dealing With It

Abuse At home

Law

Separation

Divorce

Court

Custody & Access

What Is Happening?

What Is Happening?

Why It's Happening

It's Not Your Fault

Resources

People

Help Lines

More Resources

Changes

What Might Change

What Won't Change

Still Your Family

Getting On With Your Life

Strategies

Rights & Responsibilities

Speak Up!

Caught In The Middle

Dealing With It

Abuse At home

Law

Separation

Divorce

Court

Custody & Access

Emotions

How You Feel

Acting Out

Feeling Better

When To Get Help

FAQ

What Is Happening?

What Is Happening?

Why It's Happening

It's Not Your Fault

What Is Happening?

What Is Happening?

Why It's Happening

It's Not Your Fault

Resources

People

Help Lines

More Resources

Resources

People

Help Lines

More Resources

Changes

What Might Change

What Won't Change

Still Your Family

Getting On With Your Life

Changes

What Might Change

What Won't Change

Still Your Family

Getting On With Your Life

Strategies

Rights & Responsibilities

Speak Up!

Caught In The Middle

Dealing With It

Abuse At home

Strategies

Rights & Responsibilities

Speak Up!

Caught In The Middle

Dealing With It

Abuse At home

Law

Separation

Divorce

Court

Custody & Access

Law

Separation

Divorce

Court

Custody & Access

Emotions

How You Feel

Acting Out

Feeling Better

When To Get Help

Emotions

How You Feel

Acting Out

Feeling Better

When To Get Help

FAQ

FAQ

Q & A

Q:
My parents never married. Do they have to go through the same process that married parents do when they split up?
A:

Parents who never married or chose to live together without getting married—don't have to get a divorce, because there is no marriage to end. But they do need to decide what will happen to their children and how they will divide their property.

Q:
I'm feeling really upset and confused about my parents splitting up. Is this normal?
A:

It's natural — and entirely normal — to experience some intense emotions. You will feel better over time. There are lots of ways to help yourself feel better, and people who can help you if you need it.

Q:
What is the difference between separation and divorce?
A:

When two people have been living together and they decide not to live together anymore, they are separated.

However, when married people separate, their marriage has not yet ended. They have to get a divorce to legally end a marriage.

Couples who have not been married don't have to get a divorce, because there is no marriage to end. But they may still be going to court to decide on parenting time and dividing property.

Q:
I really feel like I need some help in dealing with this. Who should I ask?
A:

There are lots of people around you who can help. Tell your parents, teacher, school counselor, family doctor or another adult you trust. If they can't help you themselves, they should be able to help you find someone who can.

If you aren't getting the help you think you need, keep asking until you get it.

Q:
I'm feeling guilty about my parents splitting up. Was there something I did to cause it?
A:

It's very common for teens to believe that they have somehow caused their parents to split up. But you are not the reason for your parents splitting up. Parents split up because of problems in their relationship.

It's not your fault!

Teen Guide

Welcome to A Teen Guide to Parental Separation and Divorce. If your parents have recently separated or divorced (or you think they may be about to), or you have a friend in that situation, this site is for you.

Parental separation and divorce are hard on teens. One thing that can help is information about what separation and divorce mean in California, and how they might affect you.

The purpose of this site is to provide you with that information. The site is not intended to provide therapy, support or legal advice.

Do you have younger brothers or sisters? If so, get them to check out the Kids Guide.