Communicating with others about your divorce: Part I

Communication these days rarely comes with the assumption of privacy that it once enjoyed. In the past, most conversations were verbal and unrecorded. Now, we often communicate with others through written (albeit electronic) means: email, texting, social media posts, etc.

Most of the time, this poses no problem. After all, you probably don’t have anything to hide. But during a divorce, communication in all forms takes on a new significance and a greater need for privacy and discretion. And that’s what we’ll be discussing in our next two posts.

In the past, we’ve warned readers about the dangers of over-sharing on social media, especially when it comes to matters pertinent to the divorce or child custody dispute. But this isn’t necessarily the only form of communication that could be problematic. In a recent Huffington Post article, family law attorney James J. Sexton discusses managing your divorce-related messaging like a politician or a public relations firm might.

First, Sexton says, it’s important to think through who you are going to tell about the divorce, when to tell them and what you will say. The people who should be told first are those who will be most impacted by the news. If the decision to file is not mutual, you should obviously discuss the divorce with your spouse first. Your kids may be next, because you don’t want them to hear the news from anyone else before they hear it from their parents.

After that, you can continue to break the news to whomever you feel should know. And as you transition from your inner (social) circles to outer ones, you probably need to share fewer details.

Second, it’s a good idea to have a crafted message ready. You don’t need to answer personal questions from acquaintances or reveal more than you feel is appropriate. By working out a basic message ahead of time, you’ll have an easier time establishing and maintaining respectful personal boundaries.

Please check back later this week as we continue our discussion.

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