Is there one “best” age to divorce? No. How you handle it is what counts.

A reader recently wrote to me because she’s concerned that she has waited “too long” to divorce. Her two children are 10 and 13, and she’s been unhappy for a decade. One of her friends said that her own parents had waited to split until she was in her twenties, and that she resented them for waiting so long.

We all want to protect our children as much as possible in divorce, and it’s easy to believe that there must be some ideal age to part in terms of what kids can handle. The truth, however, is that while our actions can affect our children’s well-being, the timing of a divorce is generally not the most significant factor.

How well our kids fare during a divorce depends on who they are as individuals, and certain other factors that are largely in our control. Here’s what you can do to help your kids adjust and thrive during a divorce:

Minimize conflict with their other parent and strive for cooperative co-parenting.

Establish stability and a reliable routine.

Work to recuperate from our own sadness and/or anger.

Reassure your children that you both love them and will continue to be a family.

This post discusses the most important recent study on childhood adjustment, and how it shows that marriage is not the critical factor for raising happy, healthy children.

Well-meaning friends and family members will give you their opinion about when you should or should not part, but research doesn’t point to any one “better” age for divorce. Anecdotal evidence also varies.

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