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:
Who decides who I will live with? Do I get a say?
A:

In some cases, your parents will make the decisions together about who you will live with and how that will work.

If they can't decide themselves, they might go to a mediator for help in reaching an agreement. Or they might have to go to court and have a judge make the decisions for them.

Whether your parents make the decisions about custody and parenting time (visitation) themselves, or with the help of a mediator or a judge, your opinion may be taken into account.

Q:
Can I do anything to get my parents back together?
A:

Most parents split up only after trying very hard to save their relationship. Their decision to separate or divorce is usually final.

Some teens hope and believe that if they try to be on their very best behavior, their parents will get back together. However, this plan isn't likely to work, since their parents' decision to split up had nothing to do with them.

Apart from suggesting that your parents see a marriage counselor, if they haven't already done so, the best thing that you can do is to begin to accept the situation so that you can get on with your life.

Q:
Do I have to take sides, or choose one parent over the other?
A:

No, you don't. You have the right to love and be loved by both parents.

If you are feeling pressured to take sides, and you feel you are caught in the middle of your parents' problems, tell them.

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'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.