The decision to split up with your spouse and file for divorce is deeply personal. Though it’s okay to want privacy and to keep the details between you and your spouse, there will inevitably come a point where you have to break the news to the other people in your life. The process can be difficult, so it’s important to be prepared before sharing the news.
Breaking The News About Your Divorce
Telling your family, friends, and coworkers about your divorce can be incredibly challenging. You might feel embarrassed or ashamed that you are getting a divorce. You might worry about being judged by others. If your friends and family really like your spouse, they might make comments about their disapproval of your separation. If they never much cared for your spouse, they might make equally disparaging or hurtful comments.
At the end of the day, the decision is yours, not theirs. There is no shame in ending a relationship when it’s run its course.
That said, you still owe it to your loved ones to tell them the news – though you don’t owe them an in-depth explanation about why you are separating or what prompted the divorce.
Read on for tips about how to tell each type of person in your life about your divorce.
Telling Your Kids
Your children should be the first people you tell about your divorce. Keep it simple – don’t go into detail about why you and your spouse are separating, just explain that the divorce will not affect your love for them or the care they will receive from you and your spouse. Remind them that they will still be safe and loved. They will still have everything they need to enjoy a happy life.
Ideally, you and your spouse will share the news together to show your children that you are still going to cooperate to be good co-parents. Do your homework ahead of time to reassure your kids that you have already thought about where they will live, how often they will see each parent, etc.
Telling Your Family
After you break the news to your children, your parents are likely the next people who should find out. Plan out a loose script ahead of time so that you know exactly what you want to say. Your parents are likely to ask for details and question why you are separating, so you should decide beforehand how much you feel comfortable revealing.
If they press you for details that you don’t want to share, be firm but respectful – explain that you have thought long and hard about the divorce and that you feel confident that it is the right choice. Remind them that it was a difficult decision and that you would appreciate their emotional support throughout the process.
Once your parents have been informed of the divorce, you can move onto siblings and any other close relatives, like grandparents, aunts, and uncles. Don’t feel any pressure to immediately tell distant relatives, like cousins you rarely see. They will likely find out through other family members, or you will be able to share the news with them later.
Telling Your Friends
The level of detail you share with each friend should be determined by the extent of your relationship. Your closest friends will likely want to know more detail – and may deserve to know more detail – than a casual friend or acquaintance.
For close friends, reassure them that their friendship and support mean the world to you. If you are open to discussing the details, do so – it can be therapeutic to talk through things with a good friend. If you are not ready to talk about the separation, explain to your friend that you will explain the details later when you are in a better place.
Casual friends may not need to know the nitty-gritty of why you’re ending your relationship, but it’s a good idea to simply disclose the split to them to avoid awkward situations. You can spare yourself and your friend the embarrassment when they ask about your spouse only for you to explain that you have been in the throes of a divorce for months.
Telling Your Boss & Coworkers
Your divorce is part of your personal life, which is best kept out of the workplace. That said, it may be in your best interest to disclose to your boss that you are getting a divorce. Reassure them that the divorce will not affect your work, but that you may need some time off occasionally as you navigate the process.
You should use your own best judgment about sharing the divorce with your co-workers. Depending on your relationship with them, you may feel comfortable disclosing the details. If word gets out and gossip starts spreading, simply confirm that you are getting a divorce but request that they respect your privacy.
Seek Counsel Fom Hembree Bell Law Firm
The divorce process is best navigated with the support of a knowledgeable lawyer. At Hembree Bell Law Firm, our Austin divorce lawyers offer compassionate counsel and personalized service to every client. We are confident that we can help you find your way forward to a brighter future.