We are in the pre separation phase where it has become pretty clear that we will be going our separate ways, but we have not formalized anything or spoken to the kids. I kind of feel like we are playing the juvenile game - each waiting for the other to blink first. I am not just trying to vent about her; I am doing it also. There is concern about perception of being the bad guy by the kids and of being the one that needs to move out that I know are just emotional and personal issues. But are there any legal distinctions? If I blink first, tell the kids what is going on and move out, can that be construed as abandonment? I plan to sit down with my wife first and discuss it and offer her the choice of staying or leaving, but I have a strong suspiscion it will get dumped back into my lap to decide.
If you leave the home your ex may allege abandonment, but these days the claim does not carry much weight. I would suggest you meet with a lawyer prior to moving out to ensure you have a plan of action, and that you are ready to file suit shortly after you move.
As a child of divorce myself, I would suggest that for the good of the children, their ability to accept the changed situation, and their ability to feel secure during such a transition, that the [color=#BF0000]two of you sit down with them together at the same time [/color]to inform them about the divorce. This can be done in a manner that doesn’t assign blame to either spouse, is age appropriate, and allows the children to ask questions.
Keep it simple, stress that this is a mutual decision between the two of you, and assure the children that although there will be changes in the daily functions of their lives, they are loved by both, they are absolutely not to be blamed for the divorce/separation, and that the two of you will always act in a manner that is deemed by you both best for them. Then probably discuss a little about what some of those changes will entail (one spouse moving out, sharing custody, transferences between the two households, different rules in each household, etc.).
The kids are not likely to be surprised. They have already told me they think it might happen because of how my wife talks about me when I am not there. They know most parents sleep in the same room and that it would be my preference to share a bed with my wife.