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Do you have a plan for telling people about your divorce?

When celebrity couples divorce, many make a joint announcement and then say little or nothing afterwards. While most people don’t need to go through a public relations team to tell people about their break-up, it is important to manage the message that you put out to family, friends, colleagues and others in your life.

How much you tell people will, of course, depend on how close they are, what kind of support you’ll need from them and how much they really need to know. If you and your spouse can reach an agreement on this, all the better. Even if you don’t, you can control what information you share and when. Following are some tips on how best to handle telling others about your break-up.

Tell those closest to you and most impacted first. Doing this in the wrong order can hurt feelings and bring awkwardness. For example, your children should hear it from you and not from a friend or neighbor.

Determine what you’re going to say to each person or group and stick to it. Don’t be lured into oversharing or answering a lot of personal questions. Do it as calmly and matter-of-factly as possible. Express a positive, or at least neutral, attitude.

Most people tell at least some work colleagues at some point. However, limit the discussion to people with whom you’re very close. It’s generally best not to discuss your divorce in the workplace. It can bring up emotions that can make you appear less than professional. As with others that you tell, staying on message is key.

Don’t discuss your divorce in e-mails, social media and texts. Those can come back to haunt you in court. Attorneys often advise their clients to stay off social media during the divorce process.

Avoid having any of these discussions in front of the kids. Ideally, you and your spouse will sit down together with them and explain what they need to know in a way that’s appropriate for their age. If they hear you saying anything different to others or speaking disparagingly about your spouse, it can increase the fear and stress you’re trying to minimize for them.

If you have questions about how to share the news of the divorce or have issues with how your spouse is doing it, your family law attorney and/or your therapist can probably provide some helpful advice.

Source: Huffington Post, “Going Public With Your Divorce: 10 Tips From a Seasoned Divorce Attorney,” James J. Sexton, Sep. 07, 2015

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