Telling Your Friends and Family You’re Divorcing

Your divorce impacts you and your children first, but it does have a domino effect on the other people in your life. Telling your friends and family you’re divorcing can be difficult, especially in the midst of coping with your own feelings. Knowing when and how is a challenge, but it’s best to rip the bandaid off as soon as possible so you can all start to move forward.

Telling Your Kids

Once you and your spouse make the decision to separate, your kids should be the first to know. Aside from you and your ex-spouse, your divorce impacts them the most. How you tell them depends on their age and maturity level. Older children may have already had an idea that a divorce was inevitable, while younger children may have no idea what a divorce even means.

  1. You and your spouse should plan what you’re going to say ahead of time so that you’re on the same page about things.
  2. Tell your children together and keep the conversation as neutral as possible. Avoid the blame game and remember that your children love both you and your spouse equally.
  3. Offer up some details, but keep in mind the age of your kids so that all conversations remain age-appropriate.
  4. Provide them with the reassurance of your love for them, and let them know that while the family is being restructured, it’s not broken and that you and your spouse will always be there for them.
  5. Prepare for changes in their behavior and make the appropriate people aware if problems arise (i.e. your child’s teacher, school counselor, pediatrician).

For even more helpful info read 12 Tips to Help Keep Your Focus on the Children Throughout Your Divorce

Telling Your Family

After telling your kids, your immediate family should be the next to know. Tell your parents first and any siblings after. If your parents have the old-school mentality of a divorce being shameful, don’t be afraid to stand up to them and take a stance that this is your life and that you’re doing what you feel is best for everyone involved.

Do the same with any siblings or other relatives you have (aunts, uncles, cousins, etc). The news may come as a shock to some, and while they have every right to be sad or upset, ultimately this is your life and your decision. If they choose not to support it, you have the right to distance yourself from them while you heal.

Telling Your Friends

Sometimes, we’re closer to our friends than our own family, so it’s likely that a few of your close friends already know details about the circumstances leading up to your divorce. The divorce may come as a relief to them, and you’ll likely find the support you need there. For others, especially with mutual friends, you may find that they struggle with this news.

Make it clear from the beginning that you don’t expect your friends to take sides, and that you’d like to continue the friendship. Leave the ball in their court as to whether or not they want to be there for you. A divorce is a very good way to weed out the fake friends in your life, and it’s wise to be prepared that some of your friendships may not survive it.

Keep in mind that your divorce will introduce you to a whole host of new people who will fill those spaces left behind by any non-supportive friends. We’re surrounding ourselves with positive and uplifting people post-divorce, so let the situation sort itself out while you focus on healing.

Telling Your Co-Workers

Not all of your co-workers need to know about your divorce, but there are a few key people that do need to be told- your boss and human resource manager. Inform your boss that you’re divorcing and that you may need to take some time off for lawyer appointments, court dates, etc. Assure them that you’ll do your best not to let the divorce interfere with your work schedule.

Your human resource manager may need to change things in regards to your insurance or tax filing status, so it’s important to keep them updated on the divorce proceedings. You don’t need to go into details aside from the necessary changes they need to make.

If you work closely with other co-workers, you may want to tell them about the divorce in general terms so that they don’t ask too many questions. Also, be very clear about your expectations regarding privacy. Outside of that, your divorce isn’t anyone else’s business at the office and you should feel free to state that if anyone asks about it.

Social Media

Do you or don’t you announce your divorce on social media? That’s the question a lot of people ponder as they start their divorce process. While it’s certainly nobody’s business, you may choose to make an announcement on your social media pages in order to avoid uncomfortable questions in the future about why your spouse is no longer in pictures, why you may have moved, or even why you changed your relationship status.

Sharing this life-changing event on social media is a personal decision and one that really depends on how often you post to these platforms. You may want to make a general announcement, informing your friends that you’re getting a divorce while asking them to respect your family’s privacy.

Social Media Is Part of Your Business

Many people have made social media a part of their career, which makes some sort of an announcement necessary. In this case, you may choose to post a more formal announcement across your social media pages. Exercise caution when posting about your divorce. Whatever you post can be screenshotted and sent to your spouse or their attorney. Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want to be read in court someday.

While sharing the news may be one of the most difficult aspects of your divorce, it doesn’t have to be unbearable. Be honest and clear about your expectations regarding privacy from the very beginning. The right people will understand, and for those who don’t, you’re probably better off without them in your life anyway.

More Resources:

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Essential Resources

If you’re facing legal/custody battles, a mental health crisis, an urgent medical issue, serious emotional problems, including suicidal thoughts, please seek help from the appropriate professionals near you.

Suicide hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
Crisis line: 1-800-356-5395
Crisis text line: Text “help” to 741741
The National Domestic Violence Hotline
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) Resources Marital Life Inventory
Divorce Lifecycle Document
Divorce Process Overview


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