Regardless of the reasons why you are getting a divorce, you will likely need to share the news of this life event with your family members. When there is a change in the family dynamic, it can be difficult and emotional, even if the divorce is in the best interest of the parties involved. When the time comes to break the news of your divorce to your family, make sure you have a plan to follow and approach the conversation with honesty and sensitivity.
Create Your Plan To Communicate Your Divorce To Your Family
Once you and your spouse have decided to divorce, you need to have up to three different communication plans in place depending on your particular family situation:
- How to communicate the divorce to family members on your spouses’ side
- How to communicate the divorce to your individual family members
- How to communicate the divorce to your children
Here are six steps to consider when creating your divorce communication plan regardless of the intended audience:
- Choose the right time and place: Pick a private and comfortable setting to have the conversation, and choose a time when everyone is relaxed and not distracted.
- Be honest: Explain your reasons for seeking a divorce and assure your family that the decision was not taken lightly.
- Prepare for their reactions: Your family members may have strong opinions and emotions about your decision. Be prepared for their reactions and be ready to listen to their concerns.
- Focus on your own feelings: It’s important to maintain a focus on your own emotions and not get drawn into arguments or tangents about the details of the divorce.
- Ask for support: Let your family know that you value their support and appreciate their understanding during this difficult time.
- Reiterate that it’s not their fault: Make it clear to your family members that the divorce is not their fault and that you still love and care for them.
Remember to be patient, empathetic, and understanding during these conversations. Your family members may need time to process the news, and it’s important to give them that space and advocate for your own space when you need it.
Breaking The News Of Divorce To Your Spouses’ Side Of The Family
In some divorce cases, there may not be a need to break the news of your divorce to your spouse’s side family members. However, depending on the length of the relationship and the extent of the relationships you’ve built with your in-laws, you may want to consider participating in some of these hard conversations with your future ex-spouse’s family.
For example, if you want to participate in breaking the news of your divorce to your sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law, advocate for your desires and let your spouse know that it is important to you to be involved in this conversation. Certainly, some marriages get to the point where one spouse is no longer amicable and agreeable, but if you don’t advocate for your desire to participate in breaking the news to your spouse’s side of the family, you may never get the opportunity.
Breaking The News of Divorce To Your Family Members
This conversation is likely on the top of your mind as you process the fact that you are getting divorced. You may experience some anxiety around telling your family that your marriage is ending. Making a plan of action for how you want to approach this situation may ease your nerves. If you are mentally in a position to involve the other spouse in one or all of these conversations, let them know that you are open to that. Depending on your relationships with your family members, the idea of sharing this news together may provide better results and reduce stress.
Consider your options and think through your preferred course of action. Does it make sense to tell the entire family at once? Would you be more comfortable sharing the news with your parents at a different time than other family members? Make a list of family members you would like to tell and make a plan for when and how you want to proceed.
Tailoring The News of Divorce To Your Children
If you are going through a divorce where children are involved, it is important to consider their feelings and experiences when doing so. If both parents have and will continue to maintain a relationship with the children, make sure you are on the same page when it comes to communicating your divorce to the children. Children may eventually grow up and realize who was the problem in your marriage, so being honest and age-appropriate is a solid approach. Make sure you start off on the right foot with your approach to co-parenting.
Some ideas for tailoring this conversation to your children:
- Encourage the children to ask questions and provide honest answers to their concerns. That said, this is not the time to bad-mouth the other parent. Be prepared to answer questions about changes to their daily routine, living arrangements, and relationships with friends and family. Talk to your spouse about this beforehand to present a united answer to your children.
- Let the children know that despite the changes, there will be stability and structure in their lives. Reassure them that they will continue to have a safe and stable home environment.
- Consider seeking the support of a professional therapist or counselor to help the children process their emotions and understand the changes in their family structure.
When In Doubt, Speak With a Knowledgeable Family Law Attorney
Divorce can occur for various reasons, and everyone will have a unique set of circumstances when it comes to breaking the news of your divorce to your family. If you need the assistance of a skilled family attorney to navigate the divorce process, do not hesitate to contact Vayman & Teitelbaum P.C. today.