Of course, not everyone will want to make a big announcement about their divorce or relationship breakdown, and, unlike the Welsh woman who proclaimed “Paul…I’m divorcing you” on a local bar sign for all her neighbours to see, most people going through a split will want to choose a private moment to break the news to those around them.
Celebrities may tell their followers over Twitter and Facebook and, indeed, non-celebrities may also wish to let their wider circle of friends know by putting a message onto a social media network, but this, perhaps is not the best method – especially in the early stages of divorce.
Healys’ divorce lawyers in London and Brighton get asked for all sorts of divorce advice, and while we are not trained counsellors, we can offer a few tips for making things easier during a time of great emotional difficulty.
For more legal advice on divorce please click here.
Divorce is a serious issue
Divorce is going to cause a family a great deal of upheaval – there is really no way to avoid it – and while the announcement of an engagement usually creates much happiness, congratulations and celebration, the ending of the relationship can make you feel very lonely.
Firstly, there are no hard and fast rules about telling people about your divorce. Much will depend on the circumstances surrounding the split, but having to let people know is inevitable and how you do it, is entirely up to you.
Telling your children – How you do this will depend greatly on the age of your children and how much they already know about the state of your relationship.
If at all possible, you and your partner should break the news to your children together and, above all, reassurances of your continued love and support for them will be crucial. Stay calm and try not to get angry with them, or each other, if the situation becomes difficult.
Social workers suggest that the best approach is to keep it simple and tell them that they will be safe, cared for and that you both love them. They may want to know things like will they be able to keep their toys or where they will sleep, and although certain aspects, such as where they will live and contact arrangements, may not be completely sorted out, giving your children the reassurance that you will both be there to look after them is the most important issue.
Sometimes, especially for younger children, it may be a good idea to tell the child’s teacher and this may help if there are any behavioural changes at school.
Telling your family – Reactions are likely to be mixed when you announce your divorce to your family. Your loved-ones may well be angry, especially if the split is acrimonious, or there has been an affair or domestic abuse.
The best advice is to plan what you want to say, how much information you are ready to give and to be prepared for reactions you weren’t expecting. In most cases, your family will be sympathetic and will want to help you get through this difficult time, but sometimes, the reactions may come as a surprise.
Sometimes, it can feel like your family is being insensitive about your divorce, or they may not appear to support your decision, so be prepared to stick to your guns and know that the decision is yours and yours alone.
Telling friends and work colleagues
It may feel like your divorce is nobody else’s business, but, sometimes, your employer and your work colleagues may be able to help, particularly if you need any time off work or to rearrange shifts and workloads around solicitor appointments etc.
Telling friends at work, and your personal friends, may not be as difficult as you think and you may already have discussed the situation with them anyway. However, counsellors advise that you are cautious of appearing to expect special help or dispensation, especially at work.
Gossip may also play a part if you have a large circle of friends, and to minimise this, it may be easiest to make some sort of an announcement, but of course, this is a personal issue and each person will approach it differently.
Healys’ legal advice on divorce can help in all sorts of matters
Our main advice to clients who are undergoing divorce and relationship breakdown is to focus on what is important to you and know that, over time, all divorce-related issues will be sorted out. Eventually, everyone who is important to you will know and the legal issues will be dealt with so that you can move on with your life.
If you would like more information on divorce financial settlements, children arrangements, or simply to find out more about divorce, please contact Healys’ family law teams in London and Brighton.
We are here to help.