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Making your divorce announcement during the holidays

The holiday seasons are approaching, and you and your spouse are talking about divorce. Do you put on a happy face for family gatherings or announce the news in person while everyone is in one spot?

Here are a few considerations to keep in mind if you're thinking of making your divorce announcement over the holidays.

Do the kids know?

If you and your spouse share children, the first consideration to make is whether they're aware of the circumstances. You should choose to avoid bringing up the divorce with extended family if you haven't discussed it with your children at least a week or two in advance of the holiday gathering. You don't want your children to hear about it from someone else.

If your children do know about the divorce, it's probably best to tell your holiday guests about the divorce ahead of the gathering. This will keep your children from feeling like they need to hide the truth or lie to family members.

Do other relatives know?

If other members of the family may know of or discuss your divorce during holiday gatherings, make sure you tell your children about it beforehand.

If you do not have children, you may choose to avoid the issue. However, be ready to justify your spouse's absence from holiday traditions by explaining that he or she is ill, spending time with other family or involved in work-related issues.

If you are asked specifically about divorce rumors, be ready with a response, such as "My spouse and I are dealing with private matters right now." 

Should your spouse join holiday festivities?

Those who share children together may both want to be present for special holiday traditions. However, the two of you should discuss whether or not you can reasonably make it through the event amicably. After all, family gatherings have a way of sometimes wreaking havoc.

If you and your spouse have trouble staying amicable and respectful in other public settings, it's probably best for one spouse to celebrate with the kids on another day.

How to break the news

For those with extended family who live in a different state, now may be the best time to tell loved ones of your situation in person. If you've decided that you'd like to break the news over the holidays, try to keep this news from being the main event of the gathering. To be respectful of others, remember that the holiday seasons are meant to be celebratory.

Allow special meals or other traditions to take place before you announce the news. It's also a good idea to make share this "announcement" in small social groups or one-on-one, given the intimate nature of the topic.

Prepare for next steps

Unfortunately, divorce will encompass many more difficult situations and decisions. You can ease the stress of these by gaining the help of an attorney.

A Family Law lawyer can help guide you through the intricacies of the law as you continue to take the steps to get through this.

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