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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.

Telling Your Spouse

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’ll be relieved.

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 and 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 unless you find out your partner is already on the same page. 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.” Don’t be ambiguous unless you really aren’t sure about the divorce. Your spouse may think you’re reconsidering when you’re not.

Kids

If you have children, the next step is to tell your kids 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, and that your decision is final. 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.

Family

Once you 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.

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.

Friends

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 is. 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.

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.

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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