The conversation you have with friends and family members announcing your divorce ranks among the most difficult conversations you will have in your lifetime. However, there comes a point when it has to be done, no matter how difficult.
When you do announce your divorce, keep the following advice in mind.
If you have children, talk to them first
Make sure your children do not hear about your divorce before you get the chance to tell them. Prior to your conversation, sit down with your spouse to discuss what you’ll say. It’s imperative you have a consistent message.
Tell your children about the facts of the divorce (our California Child Custody Glossary may help), but more importantly, tell them you love them no matter what. Give your children a chance to ask questions and let them know they can always talk to you.
When talking to family consider their feelings
A divorce doesn’t only affect the couple that splits. A divorce leaves a mark on everyone in the family. Consider this as you sit down to tell your parents, siblings, etc., especially if they have a close relationship with your spouse. It works best when the two of you can tell your family together, since that shows you still have a mutual respect for one another.
Again, try to rehearse what you will say before hand and always anticipate questions.If you and your spouse do not get along well enough to tell your families together, then whatever you do, don’t tell them together. The last thing you need is for your family to despise your soon-to-be ex-spouse. This may make you feel better at first, but it won’t help you in the long run.
Announcing a divorce to your co-workers, if you need to
Not all work situations require you to announce a divorce, but if you feel compelled, then you should start by speaking with your boss and the human resources department. You may be surprised to learn that they have sympathy for your situation and resources to help you get through the tough time. Once the air is cleared at the top level, then it’s time to tell you peers. Consider working it in to a casual conversation or ask a few co-workers to lunch. The point is to make it a simple event, not a dramatic one.
Your social life will look different – Be prepared
Many of your couple friends and single friends will want to know the details of your divorce. Of course, it’s up to you to share as many or as few details as you want, but you should expect to answer the same questions over and over again.
You should also expect certain friends to take sides with either you or your spouse. This creates a clash, but it’s almost inevitable. Other friends may act indifferent, but indifference doesn’t mean they don’t care. It could mean they don’t know what to say or how to act in this difficult time.
Read More in Aaron Dishon’s AVVO Legal Guide: How to Announce Your Divorce