How to tell family members you’re filing for divorce
Reaching the point where you realize that you want a divorce can be difficult. When you do finally realize that divorce is likely the only solution for your family, you then have to start thinking about the future.
The first stages of divorce planning will occur between you and your lawyer as you seek to adequately protect yourself and prepare for the upcoming transition. Eventually, you will have to talk about it with your spouse or serve them. At that point, there will be many other people who need to hear about your divorce.
How do you go about telling the people in your life about an upcoming divorce?
Talking to children about divorce is often the hardest part of the process. The best-case scenario involves both parents getting together with the children and calmly talking about how they will share custody with the kids.
The children can have space with the whole family present to process their emotions, and they will have an opportunity to ask questions before you start making any big changes. Keeping your explanations age-appropriate and discussing what you would tell the children ahead of time is smart, as is seeking to give them appropriate outlets for their feelings throughout the divorce process.
Your parents and other immediate family
In the vast majority of cases, each spouse will take on the task of informing their own family members. You typically would not need to reach out to your in-laws to discuss the divorce with them, although they might contact you.
You will have to plan to have a conversation with your parents, siblings and other close family members. You can typically handle such conversations more directly than you would with children. A one-on-one conversation is usually important for close relationships, although phone calls can be a substitute when there is a significant distance involved.
Friends and coworkers
Although some people rush to inform everyone of their upcoming changes quickly as possible, others burn out on delivering the news repeatedly. You generally need to avoid discussing legal matters on social media, which includes announcing your upcoming divorce until after the courts finalize it. Talking with friends and coworkers about the divorce could be a healthy outlet, or you may not want to make it public knowledge at the place where you work.
You will have to make the choice on a case-by-case basis, and remember that what you say to others could occasionally come back to your spouse, especially when you communicate in writing. Even if you choose not to tell your coworkers, you may need to inform some people at work, especially if your spouse was your emergency contact or made use of your employment benefits.
Tackling the difficult conversation about your upcoming divorce with people that you care about can be a challenge, but it will also help you connect with the support that you need during your divorce.