Divorce doesn't just affect husband, wife & kids. It can affect the whole family and depending on the makeup of your family (and your spouses), the impact can be far reaching. People sometimes express concern over how their own parents will react to the news of the divorce and want to know the best way to tell them. I don't have the answer because every family is different and, its not really a legal question. But as a divorce lawyer for 15 plus years, I've been afforded the unique insight into people's divorces from start to finish and here is what I would tell a friend who is worried about how mom and dad will take the news.
- Remember, you are telling them that the divorce is happening, not asking for their advice, opinion, or blessing (unless you are still in the phase of uncertainty)
- Find the right time and place. Divorce is a life changing event and your folks should be told during a quiet time when they have time to absorb it and turn it into a real conversation. If geographically close, try to do it in person and not over the phone. Certainly not email or text.
- If they get angry at you or say anything that makes you feel worse, end the conversation. You need supporters right now. Mom and Dad might not be ready yet to help see you through this.
- You don't have to get into all of the details with them if you don't want to. Share what makes you comfortable, elect to not talk about the things that don't.
- Let them "be there" for you. Your parents may feel that urge again (from when you were little) to do all they can to protect you, hold you, feed you - or whatever else it was they have done in your life to give you comfort. Recognize their intentions and let them do it; you may feel an unexpected and much needed comfort in allowing yourself to be held close by mom or dad.
Its a tough conversation to have, but you will get through it and so will your parents. Best of luck.