Once you conclude that you want a divorce, the next big move is breaking the news to friends and family. This can be nearly as stressful as the initial decision to end the marriage.

How you go about telling the important people in your life that your marriage is over without adding to your burden or stressing them? While there are no hard-and-fast rules, the guidelines below can be adjusted to fit your particular circumstances.

Breaking the news together vs. separately

If you and your spouse have agreed to be non-adversarial, then both of you could sit down together and advise friends and family of the marital breakdown. Otherwise, do it separately, as the discussion could lead to another fight between the two of you and exacerbate an already-upsetting situation.

Prepare beforehand

To avoid unnecessary preambles that drag out the conversation, practice beforehand what you want to say and how you prefer to say it. Decide whether or not you want to go into details about the reasons for the divorce. Some people can handle any negative details while others can become depressed and angry. Use your best judgment.

Ask for support while being supportive

If your family and friends were/are close to your spouse; then it’s normal that they will feel torn between their love and loyalty to you and their close connection to him or her. Ask for their support, but refrain from issuing ultimatums regarding their relationship with your soon-to-be ex. They may be grieving the end of your marriage just like you are.

Be especially sensitive with children

What you say to your children will depend primarily on their age. Younger children will have a limited ability to understand the personal details of the divorce and want reassurance that they will continue to be loved and taken care of. Older children will understand more, but don’t need to hear the intimate details behind your decision to end the marriage.

Children are mostly concerned with the practicalities of their changed circumstances, such as where they’re going to live, whether they’ll keep going to the same school, and if the family pet will be coming with them. Offer repeated reassurances that your love for them won’t change, that they are not to blame for the breakup, and that they will have ample opportunity to visit their other parent.

Unless circumstances advise otherwise, you and your spouse should try to break the news to your children together. It will demonstrate to them that you will always work with each other as parents.

By telling your friends and family about your divorce in the gentlest way possible, you are creating a support network that will sustain you during any difficult times that lie ahead. The immediate future won’t be easy, but mutual love and support can ease the transition for everyone.

If you are considering divorce, then contact the law office of Jayson Lutzky, P.C. Mr. Lutzky practices divorce and family law in the Greater New York City area. He has over 33 years of experience as a lawyer and has helped thousands of people file for divorce over the years. Mr. Lutzky offers free in-person consultations at his Bronx office. Call 718-514-6619 to learn more about Mr. Lutzky’s services or visit www.MyNewYorkCityLawyer.com.