So you’ve made the difficult decision to divorce your spouse – now what? Of course, you’ll want to hire a divorce attorney to help with legal proceedings. Among seeking legal representation, there are plenty of other things you’ll need to get done: coordinate living situations, gather financial information, close joint credit cards, etc.
There’s another major thing you’ll want to tackle – telling people that you’re getting divorced. Breaking the news to loved ones and friends can be difficult, especially if they are close to your spouse. While it’s tough, it’s necessary to tell those you love. Continue reading for some tips on how to tell loved ones you’re getting a divorce.
Easily one of the most difficult to break the news to is children. All they’ve known their entire life has been you and their other parent as a unit. While it will be painful for them to hear, you need to tell them before you start telling others and the news spreads. The last thing you want is for your children to hear that you’re divorcing through the grapevine.
Choosing when to tell them is very important. Don’t tell them right before bed or school or on an important day like a holiday. Do plan to tell them when you have plenty of time to discuss everything; don’t rush the process. If you and your spouse can be amicable, plan to tell your child or children together so they feel a sense of unity.
How to tell them is as equally important. Everything they know is about to change so they’ll most likely have many questions including why this is happening. Stray from telling them specifics as to why you and your spouse are divorcing. They don’t need to know about an affair or the fact that you can’t agree on anything. Instead, explain to them that you just don’t love each other anymore but want to remain friends so they feel a sense of unity.
It may take them a while to process the news, so be patient with them. Everything they’ve known their entire lives is about to change so they will be experiencing plenty of emotions. Allow them to grieve your marriage and to feel those emotions. Going to therapy or having weekly discussions can help them navigate this difficult process. Make sure to take the time to listen to their concerns and feelings so they still feel loved and heard.
Teens can be a little challenging, but there are ways to help your teen through the divorce process. No matter your child’s age, showing them you care and are actively listening will help them feel comforted.
Parents & Extended Family
There were many happy discussions you had with your family regarding your marriage: telling them about this new special person in your life, that you’re exclusively dating, you’re engaged, you’re expecting, etc. The last thing your family may expect is an emotional discussion telling them your marriage is ending.
Your parents and extended family were there at the start of the marriage and will be there throughout the end of it and beyond. While they will support you, they may not take the news very well, especially if they’re very fond of your spouse. Emotions may run high, and that’s okay, but be sure to control the discussion.
Depending on your relationship with your spouse, you may want to tell parents and extended family together or separate. Whichever you choose, have a plan going into it rather than telling them on a whim. You can create a narrative or create some bullet points – whatever works best for you. Just know that emotions may run high and they may be upset. You have every right to excuse yourself from the discussion if it gets too difficult.
Telling friends you’re divorcing may be the easiest of your circle to break the news to. You can opt to tell them together with your spouse or tell them separately. Whichever you choose, your friends should support you through this difficult time.
The only issue you may run into is if you share a group of friends. They may feel like they need to choose sides or that they’re losing both of you. Explain to them that you of course want to remain friends and that you need their support during this transition.
If you do share mutual friends, be sure to respect their emotions by not telling them too many personal details that pertain to your divorce; you don’t want to put them in the middle and make them feel like they need to choose sides. Staying neutral is best if you share mutual friends. Of course, share personal details with your closest friends so they can be a support system for you throughout this difficult process.
Breaking the news about divorce to your loved ones isn’t easy. From children to extended family and friends, those closest to you deserve to be told by you. Even though it’s difficult, you’ll feel better once you break the news to them. Communication is key, so follow these 5 tips for improving communication in your relationships to make it a little easier.
If you’re currently seeking legal representation for any family law matter, the family law attorneys at The Law Office of Young, Kuhl & Frick, LLC can help. We’re dedicated to the practice of family law and can help guide you through any family law matter keeping your best interests in mind. With over fifty-four years of combined legal experience, our family law firm is comprised of a team that’s skilled in both negotiation and litigation, handling family law matters from the most complex to the most straightforward.
We have offices in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, and Leawood, Kansas (consultations by appointment only). In addition to our two physical locations, our firm’s family and divorce attorneys have practiced in Jackson, Clay, Cass, Lafayette, Platte County, Missouri, and Johnson County, Kansas. Contact our family law firm today to schedule a consultation – we’re able to meet in person or face-to-face via Zoom.