How to tell your family about your divorce

Letting your family know that you are getting a divorce is a very difficult business. Many factors can affect how they will react, such as if the divorce has come as a surprise, if your family are close to your partner and the reasons for the divorce.

Your children need to be the first people to know about a divorce. If you start discussing it with other family members first then they will pick up that something is wrong and start to worry, no matter how careful you think you are being.

Once you have told your children, then it is time to move on and inform parents, siblings and any other family members that you are close to. You will receive a lot of mixed reactions and although you may want to lean on family members for support try to remain tactful and keep your reasons to the minimum. Stirring up more feelings of anger and hatred towards your spouse will only generate further unhappiness down the line when you are wanting to move on.

You know your family best and will know in advance if you are going to have negative feedback. If your parents are very traditional then they may be disappointed that you are getting a divorce. If this is the case, then it is best to tell them straight that you are getting divorced as you have a deeply unhappy marriage, then give them time to process the information. Do not try to justify yourself against long-standing religious or cultural views.

If you are worried that you will be upset by the views of family members saying something such as ‘I need time to sort through everything, I hope you can respect my privacy,‘ should give you some space away from them and give them some time to come to terms with the news and not react in anger.

Similarly parents and siblings can be overly kind when you inform them that you are ending your marriage. No one wants to hear ‘I told you so,’ or ‘I never liked them in the first place’ as this undermines the happy times in your marriage that you will need to remember in order to move on and come to terms with your divorce.

Ideally your family will be aware that something was wrong in your marriage. However, if the news of the divorce has come as a shock, it is best to sit your family members down and tell them outright. Respect their need to ask questions, but let them know if you are uncomfortable with questions. If you are very worried then it may be best to do this in a public space where reactions have to be limited. Don’t judge your family by their initial reactions, give them some processing time and you can talk further once they have accepted your decision.

If you are still on friendly terms with your spouse then you may receive more respect by telling family members together, but if you are not then this is a bad idea.

For expert legal advice and divorce lawyers in Cardiff, talk to Grant Stephens Family Law.

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