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How to Share That You’re Getting a Divorce

Questions.Answered

 You’ve decided you don’t want to continue your marriage. There could be dozens of reasons why, but knowing what to say, when, and how can be a challenge.

How do you break the news to your spouse? What about kids, family members, or even coworkers? How much do people deserve to know?

Here are some tips on how to break the news that you’re getting a divorce.

How to Tell Your Spouse About Divorce

The first big step is to tell your spouse that you’re done. It can be hard to know how your spouse is feeling about the marriage before you broach the topic, though. Maybe they’ll be caught off guard, maybe they’ll be angry, or maybe they will feel the same way.

It’s a delicate conversation, so be sure to time it well. Focus on a time when your spouse isn’t upset, overly tired, hungry, or sick. Wait until a moment when you’re alone, calm, and you can break the news in a quiet environment.

Don’t talk about the details of what you want or what you’re willing to give. Those are discussions best left to the lawyers, at least initially. Most people need a lot of time to absorb this kind of news. Expect emotions, and be ready to answer questions.

Be careful not to blame your spouse for the end of the marriage. Focus on making statements like, “I have decided,” or “I feel.” Be upfront, and not ambiguous unless you really aren’t sure about the divorce. If you are ambiguous then your spouse may think you’re reconsidering your decision when you’re not.

How to Tell Your Kids About Divorce

If you have children, the next step is for the two of you to come up with a plan together to break the news to your children that you and your spouse are divorcing. Don’t make this step until you’re 100% sure this is the path you’re taking. This is just as delicate as the first conversation, and many of the same rules apply.

Find a time when your kids are not stressed or tired, and don’t tell them right after they’ve gotten in trouble for misbehavior. You and your spouse should share the news together, and spare them the details.

Emphasize that the divorce is not their fault, that your decision is final, and that nothing they did contributed to the decision. Don’t make your children the center of the divorce. Make sure you don’t have a scheduled event right after you tell them – they will probably have a lot of questions and need a lot of extra love and hugs. You may consider enlisting the assistance of a therapist for them too.

How to Tell Your Family About Divorce

Once you, your spouse, and your children are on the same page, it’s time to share with each of your families. It’s probably best for each of you to share the news with your respective relatives separately.

Follow the same techniques: time your announcement well, be clear, skip the details, and expect an emotional reaction and lots of questions. Even though it will be tempting to blame your spouse when you’re talking to “your team,” it doesn’t usually help things go more smoothly.

How to Tell Your Friends About Divorce

How do you tell your friends and coworkers about a split? How much do they deserve to know?

Close friends will probably follow the same guidelines as family. Other friends you might be able to simply say, “Yes, {name} and I are getting a divorce. Things aren’t working out.”

Friends are less likely to know how to react to jarring news than your family. You may get uncomfortable laughter, bad jokes, or empathetic understanding. It’s best to simply keep everyone on a need-to-know-basis and only share when there’s a good reason.

Mutual friends are the biggest challenge. As long as you and your spouse are matter-of-fact and don’t blame each other, you can keep your friends from feeling like they have to choose between you. BUT, and this is a big BUT, you never know how mutual friends will break so be very, very careful what you share. It could come back to bite you.

Work With an Attorney Through a Divorce

If you know it’s time to move on, away from your spouse, you’re certainly at the beginning of a difficult road. However, when you have the right support you can make it through. It is always best practice to consult with a lawyer prior to breaking the news to anyone. You only get to plan your start to the Divorce process once.

These tips will help you share the news about your divorce with your spouse, family, and friends. After that, an experienced family law attorney can walk you through the rest of the process. Contact us for help today!

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