A divorce can affect every aspect of your life. Depending on your situation, it can feel sad or shameful, or be a source of relief and celebration. It can even feel like all of those things in combination. So, how do you share the news? Who should you talk about your divorce with, and what should you say?
First, think of the people who are closest to you—your most beloved relatives and staunchest supporters. Make a private list of people who would be hurt to learn the news from someone else. Make another private list of people you’ll want and need on your side in the months ahead.
Consider these lists carefully, and then make deliberate decisions about who to tell and when to tell them. These are the people who should hear first and directly from you.
In the period of great transition that surrounds a divorce, it can be easy to say things in front of your kids that you later regret. Remember that your kids will be eager to hear the details of the divorce and may be listening, even when you think they’re not.
You can’t take back something after you’ve said it, so plan the most detailed and emotional conversations for times when the kids are out of the house.
When it comes to people and organizations who need to know your status for business, legal or security reasons, it’s better to tell them as soon as possible after a divorce, according to The Emily Post Institute. Often, this means a quick phone call or the completion of an email form.
After a divorce, go ahead and notify:
- Your child’s school or childcare provider
- Accountants, financial advisors and tax preparers
- Insurance companies
- Landlords or leasing companies
- Banks, mortgage companies and credit cards companies
- The post office, DMV and voter registration
When it comes to mutual friends, acquaintances and new friends, resist the urge to spill all the details of your divorce. In these situations, less is more. Resist the urge to trash your ex as your words may hurt your case. Keep the personal details to only your most trusted allies.
The “less is more” message is especially important when it comes to what you post on social media. Remember that your spouse and their lawyer may be looking at your posts, and words really can come back to haunt you in court. Even if you’ve deleted what you said, someone could have taken a screenshot of your Facebook or Instagram post.
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