Breaking the News: Talking About Your Divorce

Breaking the News: Talking About Your DivorceIt is difficult to break bad news to anyone, and telling people about your divorce is no exception. Most people do not get married planning to divorce, so telling those around you about your divorce can be intimidating and discouraging. Below are some helpful tips adapted from for talking about divorce with various people in your life that can help you approach the subject in a positive and productive manner.

Talking to Your Kids

There is no absolute formula for telling your kids about divorce. Many factors can impact how and when you tell your kids, like their age and developmental ability. Younger children may need a lot of reassurance that they will continue to be cared for and loved by both parents. While older children will also need to be reminded of this, more attention might need to be paid to how they cope with divorce emotionally. Divorce can be extremely difficult for children of any age and may result in them acting out or engaging in risky behavior. Talking to your child’s co-parent and coming up with a strategy for talking to your kids about divorce so that you are both on the same page can help provide a consistent message that allows them to navigate a divorce more successfully. Preparation and practicing what you will say will help make the experience easier for everyone.

The discussion with your spouse about how to approach this issue with your children is often indicative of how successful parents will be at co-parenting during and after a divorce. While planning to tell your children, you may also encounter issues that you can address to prevent larger incarnations of them down the road. Approaching the discussion as a team is an integral part of how successful your message will be, and could indicate how successful your co-parenting strategies might ultimately be. The more details you can work out prior to telling your children, the better the experience of delivering the news to them will be. Keep in mind children’s concerns may often center on how a divorce will affect them, such as where they will live and go to school. Make sure that you consistently reinforce a positive message of love and commitment to your children and their well-being. Regardless of their age or developmental ability, this constant reassurance can provide children with a feeling of safety and security that may otherwise be lacking during a divorce.

Talking to Family and Friends

As with your children, it is important to practice what you will say to your family and friends. There is no way to predict how individuals will react to the news of an impending divorce, but being prepared for a variety of reactions based on your knowledge of how individuals handle this type of news can help make the process of telling them easier for everyone involved. In situations in which you and your spouse are still on good terms, you might find it easier to sit down together to talk to each of your families about the divorce so that they understand your reasons. This team approach might not work if you and your spouse have difficulty communicating and could result in additional fights or even giving out information you had not planned to, such as information about infidelity or other personal information you may not want to share with family members.

Whether you tell family and friends as a couple or individually, it is best to get right to the point. As noted, you may have an idea of how those closest to you will react to the news of a divorce. Do not try to control how they will react, but be understanding of the fact that for many of them the news of your divorce could be difficult. You may need to prepare yourself for the loss of communication with some family and/or friends as a result of your divorce, and if that happens you need to be able to accept it and move on. The dynamics of many of your relationships may change, some for better and some for worse. Understanding that this is a natural part of communicating with people about your divorce is an important part of talking to your family and friends about it.

Talking to Your Coworkers

Divorce is a private, personal experience and you may not feel like discussing it with coworkers – especially those you do not feel very close to. However, as intimate as divorce is, it can also become a surprisingly public experience. It may become necessary to take off work or adjust your schedule to accommodate things like mediation and court appearances. You may need to provide work-related financial information to the court or at the very least to attorneys representing you and your spouse. Inevitably, news of your divorce will probably find its way into your workplace.

If you work in a larger company, you might want to talk to your human resources department about your divorce. They may have resources available for you at a discount, including extended benefits that may cover therapy or other expenses outside of your normal health insurance plan. Ultimately, it is up to you about whether or not to talk to your coworkers about your divorce. Some may provide a welcome support system for you outside of your normal circle of friends, but make sure you are conscious of whom you are sharing information with as well as what information you are sharing.

Talking to Your Attorney

Divorce involves a great deal of personal information. It is difficult to share information about your relationship, finances, and other aspects of your divorce with those you are close to, and it can be even more difficult to share such information with strangers or those you have just met. You should prepare yourself to share this information with your attorney, keeping in mind that what you do share with your attorney is confidential inside of the attorney-client relationship. Preparing yourself to discuss difficult things with your attorney can make approaching your attorney much easier, especially because it is crucial to be open and honest with your attorney about all aspects of your divorce. An experienced Florida divorce attorney can provide you with a variety of resources to help you cope with divorce in addition to their legal guidance, and working together means you do not have to face your divorce alone even if you keep the details of your divorce relatively private when it comes to others around you. If you are considering a Florida divorce, contact Scott J. Stadler to schedule a consultation where you can find out more information about how Florida divorce could affect you.