Announcing Your Divorce: Sharing the News and What to Consider Before
Divorce is hard, even if it's a fairly amicable one. One of the first (outwardly) difficult parts is breaking the news to friends and family members you know and love.
After you've told your kids (if you have them), who do you tell next? And how exactly do you tell people about a life change you may not be ready to discuss in detail?
No two divorces are alike, and the answers to these questions differ for everyone. But for those who are struggling with this question right now, we rounded up some advice and points to ponder.
You might be pleasantly surprised by the reactions you get.
"My advice is tell whoever you want, and keep talking until you find the support you need. I didn't tell my parents and family for five miserable months. They ended up being my biggest support." – Sarah*
I hear this time and again from past and current clients. Outside factors or opinions and the stigma attached to divorce can cloud our perspective.
Step back and reframe your situation as another piece of life-changing news, such as a big promotion at work or a disease diagnosis. Who would you share that news with? Who would give you the reaction and the support you want?
Chances are, those same people will be right there by your side to support you through your divorce process.
You might get some helpful advice
"I would suggest that you inform your immediate network about your divorce to (1) obtain referrals to qualified attorneys, and (2) start the pipeline for leads on future housing and job opportunities if currently unemployed." – Spencer Schiefer, Schiefer Law Firm
If you feel ready to share, even selectively, your network will want to help however they can. And getting attorney referrals, housing leads, and job leads from people you trust can save you time and energy. Further, it will make your friends feel good that they were able to support you in a valuable way.
Be mindful of your audience
"We had a friend whose ex-wife sent a card with her new address announcing the divorce. The card said, "Change of a dress ..." and showed a picture of a new dress on a hanger. Her new contact information was inside. I think she was trying to be cute or funny, but we found it offensive, as we were friends with her husband first and had become friends with her over the course of their marriage. I thought it was an offensive play on the concept of not just her change of address but the change in their marital situation and her taste in her husband." – Laura L.
Keep in mind that what feels lighthearted to you may fail to come across that way to someone else.
Announce your news the way that feels most appropriate to you, but do be prepared for unexpected negative feedback or feelings from people who don't understand your approach.
Sometimes, subtle is best
Vanessa made her announcement with just a small change to something she did every year:
"I didn't do a formal announcement. I did send out Christmas cards to my nearest and dearest that just had my daughter and me on it rather than all three of us. So, people figured it out. And I send out Christmas cards every year, so it wasn't a direct "f**k you" to him." – Vanessa Spencer
Just as subtle: simply changing your social media status – or deleting any mention of your relationship on social media altogether.
Think twice about going too public
"I would suggest that you don't make broad announcements to the public, such as on public social media accounts, because even though a divorce is typically public record, making a broad announcement could attract people and businesses that prey on divorcing couples. For instance, many businesses thrive on buying (and then flipping) houses from divorcing couples because the couple often needs or wants to sell fast. Giving out information about the divorce could suggest to buyers that the house is in distress, possibly resulting in low offers and less money." – Spencer Schiefer, Schiefer Law Firm
This one speaks for itself. While you might want to go public to garner support from friends and family, be wary of those who may seek to take advantage of your status.
You call the shots
This is your divorce. You get to decide when and with whom to share your news. There are no wrong answers here.
When and if you do decide to share, keep in mind that first impressions matter. This is your chance to frame your divorce the way you want others to see it. Divorce can be a difficult journey, but establishing a support system early on will help you navigate the process on a stronger footing. That said, please know that your team at Hello Divorce will always be here for you, too.
We've got more helpful advice to share. If you're not sure where to go from here, schedule your FREE 15-minute informational call with a member of our team now.
*Name changed to protect privacy
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