Telling Your Friends and Family You’re Getting Divorced

Divorce is a significant, life-changing event. Even those who affirmatively make the decision often have mixed feelings. The thought of announcing the news to friends, family, and even strangers can evoke feelings of anxiety.

It is hard to know how to respond to someone who tells you they are getting a divorce. Do you congratulate them? Express sympathy? With many life events, the “proper” response is clear. Engagement announcements are met with congratulations; news of a recent death is met with sympathy. Divorce is less clear.

In today’s society, many people hearing the news of divorce take their cues from the person making the announcement. This can give the person delivering the news some degree of control over the reaction.

Getting Started

It is usually best to start with people who will support you in this time of need. There will be much to do and many feelings to process. A trusted friend or family member will be invaluable.

Family and Friends

Most people next approach close family members, such as their children or parents. If the divorce is amicable, some couples choose to deliver the news together.

Children should be reassured of your love for them. Most of their concerns will be practical, such as where they will live, where they will go to school, and how often they will see each of you.

Older children and parents may ask many questions. These conversations will likely be the most difficult you will have. For this reason, it is important to plan what you will say and discuss in advance.


You also need to decide who else needs to know about your divorce. For example, you may need to inform your employer for practical reasons such as the following:

  • changes to tax withholding and exemptions;
  • changes to health insurance coverage and premiums; and
  • changes in insurance beneficiaries.

You may also benefit from telling your boss about your change in status. Your productivity may drop, or you may need to take time off from work for hearings and appointments with your lawyer.

Others who may need to know include your children’s schools and doctors.

New York and New Jersey divorce attorney Daniel Clement has been guiding clients through divorce and family disputes for over 30 years.

He understands your concerns and fears. He wants to help you overcome the uncertainty and empower you to make informed decisions that achieve your goals.

If you are considering divorce, please download the free e-book The Divorce Process: What to Expect to learn more about the process.

We also welcome you to contact us or call (212) 683-9551 to arrange for a consultation. We are here to assist you.

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