Divorce and separation tips
This is the final part of my article with divorce and separation tips - Part 1 is the best place for you to get started if you've landed here first.
Once you've gone through steps 1 - 3, I'll still be here - and ready to take you through step 4.
Step 4: Telling other people
6 steps to let people know your situation
One of my tips on how to get divorced is to tell the friends and family members you're most often in touch with sooner rather than later that you're thinking of separation or divorce. At least that way you have some control over how they find out. Your partner may want to tell their own family, but don't count on it.
Here are my tips for telling loved ones...
6 Steps to let friends and family know about the breakup
- Call them to say you want to discuss something important. Calmly and kindly decline to say anything on the phone. Just say: "It's very personal and I'd really like to tell you face-to-face."
- Ask them when would be a good time to meet or visit them. You'd want to know that it's convenient so you can prevent it becoming more stressful than it already is
- When you arrive and before you start, be sure that you have their attention - undisturbed - and that any children cannot overhear
- I'd suggest a gentle lead-in: "I wonder if you've been aware of our difficulties..." Then something like: "I've now decided that I want (or your partner's name wants) a divorce". Stop yourself saying anything negative about your partner at all costs. It's best not to make any assumptions at this stage about who they're likely to support. Also, if at a later stage the two of you are getting back together (every divorce lawyer will tell you it happens!) you wouldn't want your partner's relationship with everyone else to be compromised
- Expect a reaction (see step 3). Just acknowledge that reaction, whether or not you understand it or agree with it
- Don't allow yourself to be led into a heated discussion. Say something like: "I know that this is difficult for you". Or gently say: "Of course you're upset/angry/disappointed/worried..."
Lastly, family and friends who are on your 'Christmas list' but that you seldomly see also need to be told - ideally. Consider simply sending them a card announcing the end of your marriage or long-term relationship. That may well prevent embarrassment later down the line.
Give people time to adjust
Remember that the more emotional we are as human beings the more unpredictable our reactions. Actually, the more emotional we are, the more stupid we become!
One of my best tips is to really leave time for others to calm down - whilst you're there, after having delivered the message, and in the weeks to come. People will need time to process what you've told them. You too need time - right now it wouldn't be helpful to make a permanent decision about whether or not you want to see them again.
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Other Helpful Links
DirectGov - Getting a divorce
NIDirect - Divorce, relationship breakdown and family courts
Parentingcentre.com - Federal Divorce and Marriage
The Huffington Post - is fay divorce any different than straight divorce?
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