Audio

BreakUp: We're done. Now, what about the kids?

Why do some parents with the best of intentions lose the plot when it comes to the children they love? How do kids feel when they find themselves involved in their parents' issues? Or when they're asked to take sides?

Relationships come apart, marriages end. But is there a way to leave the kids out of it?

Children pay a high price when they are caught up in parental conflict. (Zivica Kerkez/Shutterstock)
Do children have to go through the wringer while parents sort out their broken relationships? 54:00

Some marriages end in a conflagration. Others come apart more peacefully.  Either way, the fallout from the end of a relationship affects many more than the two people in a couple – and when children are involved, they often get caught in the middle.

Why do some parents with the best of intentions lose the plot when it comes to the children they love? How do kids feel when they find themselves involved in their parents' issues? Or when they're asked to take sides?

This CBC Radio special is co-hosted by Rob Firing (himself a child of divorce) and Victoria Smith and Alexa Turner (a mother-daughter law team). They'll pose some tough questions to experts with decades of experience.  

Child and family therapist Laurie Stein shares her insights about the collateral damage that's sustained by children on the frontline of family feuds. And Judge June Maresca decodes the emotional and psychological cost of divorce when it gets into the courtroom.

While Statistics Canada no longer records current data on divorce, its most recent projection from 2011 found that over 40 per cent of marriages are expected to end in divorce before a couple reaches their 50th anniversary.

BreakUp co-hosts, left to right: Victoria Smith, Rob Firing and Alexa Turner. (Jake Sherman/Jake Sherman Media)

About the team

Rob Firing (host) lived through his parents' difficult and rather public divorce as a teenager – a traumatic experience that changed his perspective on relationships, couples and marriage.

Victoria Smith (host) is a collaborative lawyer and mediator, and a pioneer in transforming adversarial divorce into a respectful, constructive process. She is an internationally renowned trainer in the Collaborative process. 

Alexa Turner (host) is Victoria Smith's daughter and law partner. She works with young couples in short-lived marriages; middle-aged and older couples; queer couples; interracial couples; and blended families.

Cate Cochran (producer) wrote about her "good" divorce in her book, Reconcilable Differences: Marriages End, Families Don't.  She is a CBC Radio producer for The Sunday Edition

Lina Cino (producer) has come out the other side of a tough divorce. She has worked in television, documentary, and media for more than 20 years. 

Damian Kearns is a sound producer and has worked for many CBC programs.