How to Manage Friends and Family During a Divorce

How to Manage Friends and Family During a Divorce

Going through a divorce is tough. While many couples focus on who gets custody of the children, there is another group of people to consider: the friends. You and your former spouse might have had mutual friends, and it can be tough to decide how to navigate this field following a separation. The same principle holds true for both your families. Some people might have strong feelings about the proceedings, and you need to go about this time delicately.


Bring It Up Before the Divorce Happens

 Divorcing your spouse is likely to be a difficult thing to spring on a close friend or family member. Before the separation actually happens, it is a good idea to talk about what you are feeling and experiencing with those you love. Your friends can offer advice, and loved ones can provide emotional support and listen to whatever problems you are going through. Floating the idea that a divorce might happen will get those close to you ready for when it happens. That way it is not as big of a shock.


Try Not to Make Your Friends Pick Sides

 No one is going to deny that going through a separation is tough for the spouses, but this time is also likely going to be tough for the people in your life. Your friends and family have always been used to hanging out with you and your spouse together, and now, that dynamic has changed. Even if your spouse was a nightmare to be married to, your friends might feel differently. Try not to force people into situations they are uncomfortable with. If you do have concerns about your spouse, talk about them in a tactful manner.


If Amicable, Send a Letter

If you and your spouse are divorcing on reasonably good terms, then you might want to consider sending a joint letter to all your mutual friends. This letter should let them know what is happening and that it is OK for your friends to hang out with the both of you still. This is a great way to ease some of the burden off your friends. Close friends might not know how to navigate this new field. They may not know whether to give you space or if they need to be there for you. Take the first step to establish what kind of separation this is going to be.

Friendships are often an overlooked casualty when it comes to divorce. With a little maturity and honesty, you will not have to worry about alienating friends and family during this time.



About Oliver Ross

Oliver Ross, JD*, PhD founded Out-of-Court Solutions Inc. in 1995 and since then has mediated over 3,000 divorce and family matters. He is a select member of the Maricopa Superior Court Family Mediation roster