In a world where honesty and transparency are considered virtues, and oversharing is the norm, you may feel that it is necessary to let people know about your separation. However, you may want to keep your separation private. That’s true for your own wellbeing as well as the divorce itself. Here are a few dos and don’ts you may find helpful:
DON’T Make Any Large Announcements
Avoid making any large statements, such as a social media post, about your separation. At this stage, you don’t yet know how your divorce process will play out. Your marriage may end through an uncontested divorce, or it may end after protracted litigation and a trial. You may even reconcile. Give yourself time to explore all the options before you start publicly discussing (and defending) your decisions.
DON’T Tell People about the Facts
Don’t vent about what your spouse has done, or what you will do in response. Instead, limit the information you give anyone. While you may treasure the close friend you can confide in, your friendship does not have any legal protection. And your revelations may inadvertently turn your confidants into witnesses in your divorce. After all, if you’ve trusted them with the most intimate insight into your marriage, that may be exactly what your spouse’s lawyer wants to find out.
DO Tell Those with a Need to Know
Think about this in practical, not emotional, terms—i.e., how is the separation immediately changing your life? For example, will you need time away from work to meet with attorneys, accountants, or other experts? Will new living arrangements adjust your commute, carpooling for the kids’ soccer teams, and so on? Tell those directly impacted: They’re likely to be more understanding, and accommodating, if they know what’s you are going through a separation and potential divorce.
DO Consult Your Attorney
Don’t wait until a crisis hits. Call your attorney as early as possible, to get specific advice on what steps you should be taking during a separation—to identify who needs notice, what they should be told, and what to say.
Separation is a time of uncertainty. And you may feel on your own, in a way you’ve never felt before. You don’t have to go through this alone but you should be careful about what you share and with whom.