Moving With Children After Divorce

A family gets ready to move to a new home.

Moving to a new home is difficult for children at any age, in any situation. They often feel attached to the home where they've spent most of their time and have all of their memories attached to. When parents divorce or separate, there is typically a relocation involved for one parent or the entire family. 

Families experiencing a move on top of divorce are dealing with significant life changes. While this may be the best decision for the family as a whole, the children might not see it that way.

Making the Move Easier on Your Children After Divorce

Moving with children after divorce will have its challenges, but there are some things you can do to help relieve some of the confusion and stress on both yourself and your children. Here are some things to consider when moving with children after divorce.

Think Carefully About What You'll Do With Your Marital Home

The marital home is often cited as a huge point of contention between divorcing parties. One or both individuals feel tied to the home and try hard to be the one who gets to keep it. Properties are some of the largest financial assets shared between divorcing parties, but maintaining a piece of property on one’s own might be more difficult than it seems.

Consult a financial professional who specializes in divorce-related matters. They will help you to know whether keeping the marital home is right for you and your family’s future. Making a decision about the marital home is often emotional for everyone involved, but it is important to carefully weigh all of the pros and cons involved in order to make the best decision for your family.

Be Confident and Stay Positive

Know that you and your co-parent are completely sure in your decision in regards to the divorce and move before talking to your children about it. Being indecisive about the situation and telling your children too soon will only cause more anxiety and stress on them.

Plan ahead for what you will say and how you will answer the questions about who will live where and when you will move. While it will be a hard conversation to have as a family, it is important as parents to stay confident and positive when talking to the children about it. Explain what is happening in a simple way that your child will understand.

Having a courageous outlook on moving to a new home and expressing that to the children can help to make them feel better about the situation, even if they are having a very hard time with it at first.

Help Your Children Feel Comfortable in Both of Their Homes

If you and your co-parent are sharing parenting time, your children will inevitably be living across two homes. One or both homes might be brand new, but whatever the situation may be, they should feel comfortable in both places.

Let your children be involved in decorating their new bedroom(s). This can be a fun way to help your children feel more excited about moving to a new place. Help to make them feel more at home by spending time in the new house and creating memories while doing fun things together like playing games, watching funny movies, or cooking their favourite meals.

When your children must transition between homes during parenting time exchanges, be sure that your children have packed everything that makes them feel most comfortable no matter where they are, like special toys or favourite clothes. 

Give Your Children Time to Adjust

Dealing with their parents’ divorce and moving on top of that is a lot for any kid to handle. Very young children might be quicker to adjust, as they may have made fewer attachments to their previous home. Older children may have a more difficult time with relocating to a new neighbourhood or school, as they probably have made close friends that they don’t want to leave.

Again, stay positive in talking to your children about it. Try and assure them that they will surely meet new people and new friends and that their old friends will still be there. While this might help to make them feel a bit better, it might also not do much for them right away.

Give your children time to adjust on their own terms. Keep the conversations going about how they are handling the transition, but also give them some space if they don’t want to talk about it right then. While you give them space, also maintain an eye on them to make sure that they aren’t slipping into unhealthy habits. If you notice something that concerns you, consider talking to someone about it such as their school counsellor or a therapist.

Although it may feel challenging at first, moving with children after divorce is one step towards moving your family forward after a difficult time. It is a process that might take some time, but once settled in your new home, you will have a chance to begin forging new memories and creating a life in your new space.


NOTE: Many state and federal laws use terms like ‘custody’ when referring to arrangements regarding parenting time and decision-making for a child. While this has been the case for many years, these are not the only terms currently used to refer to these topics.

Today, many family law practitioners and even laws within certain states use terms such as ‘parenting arrangements’ or ‘parenting responsibility,’ among others, when referring to matters surrounding legal and physical child custody. You will find these terms as well as custody used on the OurFamilyWizard website.