How Old Should Your Children Be Before Breaking Up or Divorcing?

The short answer is: there is no right answer. Regardless of whether you break up before your child is four, fourteen or forty, there are benefits and pitfalls to breaking up with children at all ages. Below are a few considerations…

Young children (aged 0-11)


  • Too young to know any different type of parenting.
  • More accepting of the changes to the family dynamics.
  • Sometimes the division of assets is easier because some couples haven’t been together more than 5 years.


X Parenting orders need to be considered until the children are 18 years or older.

X If a child doesn’t want to see their Spends Time With Parent and the Live With Parent doesn’t facilitate and encourage time with the Spends Time With Parent, then the Live With Parent may be in breach of Court Parenting Orders.

X children may be too young to spend large periods of time with their Spends Time With Parent

Tweens and Teenagers (aged 12-19)


  • Parenting orders need to be made for a shorter time period (ie: for 10 or less years)
  • Some children will not allow the parents to “dump”, vent or pass comments between parents
  • Children are old enough to express concerns about their time with one parent


X Despite parenting orders, children want to be with their friends, not with their parents (this could also be a pro to some people).

X Children will be more opinionated with both parents and their parents’ new partners

X Teenage children cannot be forced to spend time with a parent if they don’t wish to. The live with parent cannot force a child to see their other parent and cannot be held responsible for their actions

Young and Mature Adults (aged 20+)


  • No parenting order requirements
  • Some adults will not tolerate their parents venting or speaking badly of their ex-spouse
  • Some parents are able to be in the same room as their ex-spouse and able to be amicable for their children and grandchildren at family events


X More intertwined financial assets and more challenging finding an amicable binding financial agreement

X Some Parents tend to vent frustrations on their adult children, causing some to take sides and distance themselves from one parent

X Some parents are so upset that they can’t be civil or at the same family functions

X Some adult children are unable to comprehend why their parents’ marriage of 30 or 40 years has ended


This is general advice only and is not provided as legal advice. If you have a legal issue, you should contact a lawyer and/or accountant before making a decision about what to do or applying to the Court. cannot provide legal advice. If you have an emergency situation, please contact Emergency '000'. © Divorce Pty Ltd