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How to break the news that you're getting a divorce

In some cases, the decision to file for divorce is one reached after months or even years of arguing and unhappiness. In other cases, a divorce filing may seem abrupt and be in reaction to the discovery of an affair or of a spouse's problems with substance abuse. Whatever the case may be, once an individual has made the decision to end a marriage and file for divorce, he or she may struggle with how to break the news to relatives and friends.

Divorce and high emotions often go hand-in-hand. While it can be difficult, it's important to try to keep one's emotions in check when breaking news of a divorce to relatives and friends. This is especially true in cases where minor children are involved and seeing mom or dad upset is likely to trigger or intensify feelings of sadness and anxiety.

In addition to rehearsing one's messaging to keep emotions in check, it's also important to share news of a divorce with only a select few. Eventually word of an impending divorce will get out, but there's no point in broadcasting the news far and wide on social media or via email. Once the rumor mill starts churning there's no shutting it off and being too vocal about a divorce will likely only serve to further hurt a spouse and potentially one’s children as well.

Unfortunately, there will inevitably be certain relatives, friends or acquaintances who have negative feedback and views they'll feel the need to express and share. When faced with this type of potentially combative and emotional situation, it's best to remain cordial and simply change the subject. No one outside of a marriage can ever understand what goes on inside a marriage. It's best, therefore, to be the bigger person and not even indulge naysayers by attempting to refute claims or defend oneself.

Individuals who plan to file for divorce would be wise to consult with an attorney who handles family law, divorce and child custody matters. An attorney can answer questions, provide advice and advocate on one's behalf during divorce and custody proceedings.  

Source: The Huffington Post, "Going Public With Your Divorce: 10 Tips From a Seasoned Divorce Attorney," James J. Sexton, Sept. 7, 2015

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