Divorce is a private affair that unfortunately often gets played out in the public forum, i.e., the courtroom. The thought of intimate details of their marriage and finances being revealed in open court may make even the unhappiest of couples hesitate to file for divorce.
The good news is that you can focus on what information you can control, as opposed to what you cannot. Below are some tips you may want to employ.
Control the information flow
When you and your spouse decide to divorce, the decision may be fraught with anxiety over how to tell those closest to you the news. This is especially true when the couple has children — of any ages.
It’s not just minor children who are affected by their parents’ divorces. Even adult children of divorcing baby boomers may be taken aback to learn that Mom and Dad are splitting up. When children are minors, this decision will likely affect the kids’ daily lives, so the timing of the announcement is important.
Pick a safe place and time to share
Announcing the divorce at the table during your next family dinner may be perceived as insensitive, particularly if the setting is at a restaurant or another family member’s home. A better choice may be to gather the kids together at your home and share the news quietly as a couple.
This might involve pushing aside your own feelings of anger or loss and just being there for your children when they need you the most.
Once the news is out, it’s out
Realize that once an announcement has been made, that the information will be impossible to control. That means that your next conversations will need to be with close family members — parents, siblings, grandparents and others who make up your extended family.
Understand that you are not obligated to answer intrusive questions or offer further details. It’s also perfectly fine to ask others to respect your decision and refrain from further discussions with you about the circumstances of the split.
What about the grandkids?
Here, it’s wise to defer to their parents, who know best how much their children can comfortably absorb. As the parents will bear the brunt of the children’s reactions to their grandparents’ divorce, it’s only fair to let them share what they feel is appropriate.
Negotiate your own divorce
All of your worries about the details of your divorce becoming public knowledge can be alleviated by the two of you negotiating your issues between yourselves. Of course, this is not always possible for all matters, but it could be helpful when settling your California divorce.