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5 Tips to Tell Your Family You’re Getting Divorced

A cropped shot of a couple sitting across from another with divorce decree and wedding rings between them, hands clasped.

How to Tell Your Family You’re Getting a Divorce

For many, the prospect of notifying relatives, coworkers, or loved ones of their divorce can be daunting. It can add more pressure to an already-stressful situation. It’s normal to wonder how and when to tell loved ones about your news.

While you can’t control other people’s reactions or opinions regarding your divorce, that doesn’t change the fact that it’s your news to share—however and whenever you want to. It’s wise to focus on things that are within your control to prioritize your mental and emotional health during and after a divorce.

5 Tips to Navigate the “Ripple Effect” of Divorce

Sharing the news of your divorce with family, friends, and loved ones can be intimidating. It’s normal to feel anxious about the ripple effect of divorce. Many feel a lack of control or fear the news will spread like wildfire through their community, place of work, or social circles.

While your situation may feel bleak at the moment, know that there is peace and closure at the end of the tunnel. To achieve peace of mind after a divorce, it may be worthwhile to focus on what you can control. This requires you to relinquish your agency over things you have no power over, such as your friends’ reactions or your ex's behavior. While this can be a challenging feat, it isn’t impossible.

Keep reading to learn 5 tips to keep your sanity when breaking the news of your divorce to friends or family members.

#1. Be intentional.

It’s helpful to allow yourself time to fully process and prepare before notifying your family or friends about your divorce. It can be beneficial to plan ahead by considering who you’ll tell, how you’ll tell them, and what you intend to say. How little or how much information will you share? How do you plan to keep your emotions in check? What main points do you want to hit during the conversation? Are you open to answering follow-up questions or not?

These are all helpful points to establish prior to initiating a conversation about your recent divorce.

#2. Don’t rush.

The grieving process looks different for everyone. While you may not initially view divorce as a loss, there is still a grieving process involved with the loss of an “old life” or relationship. No matter how eager you were for your marriage to end, there is often a road to healing that divorcees must navigate. Consequently, you’re allowed to tell people whenever and however you please.

If you’re not ready to convey the news for weeks or months, that’s entirely okay. If a friend or family member hears the news elsewhere and badgers you about it, you’re justified in setting healthy boundaries or letting that person know that you’re not ready to talk about it. At the end of the day, you determine who knows, what they know, and how they know.

#3. Use discretion.

It’s important to look past the instantaneous panic of making sure people know your side of the story and instead evaluate your personal needs. You don’t owe anyone an explanation or apology for your divorce. Before you shoulder the burden of clearing the air or addressing the elephant in the room, ask yourself if it’s something you need or want to do in the first place.

#4. Focus on what you can control.

If you have a history of butting heads with your family, it may be especially stressful to relay the news of your divorce. Assuming sharing the news is something you want to do (as opposed to feeling pressured to do so out of obligation), it’s imperative to stay consciously and mentally centered on what’s within your control.

It’s wise to focus on what will benefit you during this difficult time, as this is your hardship and your personal journey to navigate—with or without the support of a disgruntled family member. If you lack support from family or friends, remind yourself of the following affirmations:

  • “Only I can decide what’s best for my life.”
  • “I did everything in my power to share my news civilly and respectfully.”
  • “I’m doing the best I can.”
  • “I’m prioritizing my mental and emotional wellbeing.”
  • “I trust my intuition.”
  • “I have the right to make my own decisions.”
  • “This will pass.”
  • “I am worthy of love and support.”

#5. Be prepared for (potentially inappropriate) questions.

This does not mean you must be prepared to answer any and every question you receive in response to your divorce news. There may be questions you have no desire to answer at all—and that's okay.

You’re allowed to be upfront at any point during your conversation with a friend or loved one. Whether it’s at the beginning, during, or after the discussion, you can simply explain that you’re not ready to answer questions or discuss the situation in greater detail.

We’re Here to Help During Life’s Most Difficult Seasons

For decades, Rubenfeld Law Firm has prioritized the needs of clients like yourself. Our devotion to family law is rooted in our commitment to helping people in our community create a better and brighter future for themselves and their families. Our award-winning divorce attorneys have a hard-earned reputation for providing high-quality legal representation that aligns with each client’s personal goals.

Our firm understands that each case is unique and every client is different. That’s why our divorce lawyers make it a point to offer personalized legal services tailored to your family’s specific needs. Divorce can have a lasting impact on your life, children, and financial stability. Don’t gamble your future by settling for less than knowledgeable legal counsel and reliable advocacy in court.

Rubenfeld Law Firm is here to protect the rights of families in Nassau County. When it comes to divorce, there’s no substitute for experience. Call (631) 777-7200 today to request a consultation.