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The anatomy of a divorce announcement

Some people going through a divorce want to keep the process private and to themselves. Others want to announce it to the world the first chance they get. Regardless of which kind of person you are, you'll need to let people know what's going on in your relationship at some point.

Here are a few ways to announce your divorce in a healthy way that supports you, your future single self and your family.

1. Define how you want people to view your divorce

Depending on your situation, you might want to define your divorce in different ways. Here are some ways to address different circumstances:

  • A contentious divorce: "I want the divorce to be easy, cooperative and amicable, so I'm working toward this."
  • A mutual decision: "It's a friendly break-up, and we both want the best for one another. Our children are doing great being able to spend more one-on-one time with each of us."

Never criticize your ex when describing your divorce or the reasons for it. Like it or not, when we criticize others publicly, that criticism usually sticks more heavily on the criticizer.

2. Let people know how they can help

Most people who are close to you will be interested to know how they can help you through your divorce. When you announce the breakup to them, be proactive in letting them know their preferred roles -- or you might end up getting help that you don't actually want. Do you want this person to give you emotional support, help moving, help redecorating, help with romantic fix-ups or maybe you want to let him or her know that you are taking some alone time to get back in touch with yourself and your needs?

3. Shift the conversation away from your divorce

People will be concerned about your divorce and want to talk with you about it until you change the subject. The best way to do that is to shift the topic of conversation to the other person. Ask him or her, "Thanks for asking, and what's new in your world." Or, "Speaking of family, how have your kids been doing?" Anything you can think of that will shift the topic and bring the attention to the other person will work.

Divorce peacefully: It will help with everything

Divorcing peacefully and respectfully will make it easier to talk about your break-up positively with others. Provided both you and your ex are willing and able to compromise, there are many divorce strategies you can employ to dissolve your marriage in a mutually respectful fashion.

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Jack P. Sherman, Attorney at Law
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