What happens next? Information for kids about separation and divorce

Chapter Four: Living in two homes

Jacques gets used to it

It was just after his birthday when Jacques’ parents separated. He hadn’t even seen them arguing. "The hardest thing is being told," he says now. "You don’t know what to do or what to say."

"I’d go to my dad’s house and I’d miss my mom; at my mom’s I missed my dad. When it first happens you are so sad, you cry. My mom asked me how I felt about it but I was too mad and too sad to answer."

That was two years ago. Jacques says it’s different now. "I sort of have two of everything — two homes and different things at both places. I collect stuffed animals but I keep them all at my mom’s. At my dad’s house, I collect DVDs and computer games. It’s awesome having two homes and two birthday parties. I’m special in two places now!"

"Then, your parents fall in love with someone else and it’s different. Dad is getting married this summer. Mom’s new friend is fun; he plays cards with me and he’s good. My dad’s new wife isn’t as much fun."

Today, Jacques finds things he likes about both homes. On bad days, he can tell you a lot about what’s wrong. On the days he finds the different rules and the different houses too much, he tells himself or his younger sister, Ami, "You get used to it. Just think of the good parts."

Your parents may have an arrangement that means that you will have two homes — like thousands of other kids in Canada. It might not always be easy. And, it might take time to get used to the changes taking place. But, at times it could be fun to have two homes.

Sometimes, the separation happens when you're so young that you don't remember anything else. Jasmine is lucky. Everybody lives close to one another. She still gets to see her grandparents, aunts, uncles and the rest of her parents' families regularly. She can walk over to her dad's new house.

When both parents live near one another, kids often live with both parents but in different homes. Separation and divorce often mean that you have to move — just when you've learned your postal code!

Most kids want and need to be a part of their parents' lives and to have a place in their homes as they are growing up — whether the parents live alone, whether they remarry and have new children, or whether they go back home to live with their own parents.


No matter what the living arrangements are, your parents are always your parents.

When things work out

Jasmine lived weekdays with her mom and her mom’s new partner. Her dad worked out of town. When her dad came back on the weekends, she lived with him. "It doesn’t bother me because I know that I will see them both and it’s been that way as long as I can remember," Jasmine explained. "I used to bring an overnight bag to school. Now, it’s just easier to leave things in both places."

Even when Jasmine was young, she always knew her schedule. She liked to know where she was going to be and when she was going to be there. "When I was little, mom made me go to see my dad even though I wanted to stay with her. If she hadn’t made me do that, I wouldn’t know my dad, so I’m happy that she did that."

What object is king of the classroom?

Answer: The ruler.

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