Who needs to know?
Getting a divorce is often a traumatic experience and many people would rather keep it to themselves. Even the people who would like to get it out in the open find it difficult to bring up in a casual conversation. Don’t be too concerned about the reactions of others because they have either been through it or know someone who has. Plus, if they are your friends and family then you need them to know so they can act as your support system. Just knowing that you have people on your side can make all the difference.
When it comes time to tell people, do it in the way that feels most natural. For instance:
- Family doesn’t usually stand on ceremony so you can tell them with a phone call or a face to face. You may want to wait until you see them in person, in case they have some advice for you or a words of encouragement.
- Your employer will need to know because you will most likely have to take time off of work at some point. An email or quick meeting with them should be all it takes.
- Friends and acquaintances could just be notified via text message, email or social media. You can choose whichever method with which you feel most comfortable.
How do you break the news to your kids?
As gently as possible is the only answer. This is the most dreaded part of any divorce for those involved. It is going to hurt but it is better coming from you than if they find out from someone else. So, go ahead and break it to them as soon as possible after your divorce filing.
Have a family meeting that includes:
- All the family members and no distractions
- A discussion of which parent will be moving out. No matter their age, children will need time to adjust to the idea of one parent living elsewhere.
- Letting them ask questions and reassuring them that they will still be loved and taken care of.
- The two parents acting as a unified front in front of the kids. Save the disagreements for later because the kids already have enough to worry about.
Watch for your kids’ reactions
Some children will cope better than others, but you should never get so wrapped up in the details of the divorce that you fail to notice warning signs. A child may seem fine but their grades may start to dip and they may start acting out. If you notice any negative behavior then you need to sit down with your kids and try to get them to talk about what is bothering them. Continue monitoring the situation even after the divorce is finalized.
If you’re lucky then your kids will understand the need for a divorce. They may even be relieved because the constant bickering and stress will be a thing of the past. Children today are more aware of the benefits of divorce because so many of their friends have gone through it. Those same friends can help them through the process as well.
Not in front of the kids!
Keep any conflicts strictly between you and your spouse. Don’t let the children hear you arguing with or talking negatively about one another. Since you will soon be going your separate ways, your kids need to understand that you still operate as a team when it comes to raising them. If you try to drag them into your fight, tell them too many details, or use them as bargaining chips against one another then they will be the ones getting hurt. Don’t put them in the middle.
If you have any questions regarding how to tell your children or other loved ones about the divorce, we at Waggoner Hastings LLC are here to help. We have the experience you and your children need to handle your divorce in a healthy way.