A divorce can be one of the most difficult times for someone to experience. A relationship that was meant to be a lifelong commitment is ending. At least one spouse will need to find a new place to live. Both spouses will be dealing with dividing property and debt; replacing property awarded to the other spouse; and adjusting to living off of decreased income. If children are involved there is the added complication of child custody, child support, parenting time schedules, and children who are adjusting to a new normal. A divorce is something akin to your whole world crashing down, and those going through divorce often feel alone.
If you know someone close to you who is in this ordeal, how do you show that you care? Divorce is a touchy topic and the first reaction may be to stay away and mind your own business, but there are some small things you can do to help.
- Be there for them. It doesn’t matter that you don’t know what to say, or how to say it. Just be there – dealing with divorce is a lonely pursuit, and a friend you can count on will be a great comfort.
- Don’t be negative. It’s easy to blame your friend’s partner as the cause of the divorce, but relationships are complicated and your negativity will not help any situation. If children are involved your friend will need to maintain a co-parenting relationship with the ex. Instead of being negative, focus on how you can help your friend deal with this trying time.
- Be understanding. The suffering and grief that one goes through in a divorce can take time to get over. There are a lot of adjustments to make and a lot of information to process. Be understanding as your friend goes through the process.
- Help out. Offer to help with moving, watching the children, or running errands. It’s the small things that matter the most for people who are dealing with this emotional stress.
- Encourage your friend to seek professional advice. Help your friend find a trusted and experienced family law attorney to handle the divorce. Encourage your friend to seek advice from a financial planner, mortgage broker, or tax professional. If your friend is having a difficult time dealing with the emotions of a divorce, suggest a family therapist or support group. Do not let your friend receive “legal advice” from friend, coworkers, and other individuals who have been divorced or “know someone who knows someone.” This “advice” is often a combination of horror story and misinformation.
Reaching out and helping someone can be the difference between a miserable divorce, and one that is easier to deal with. In case you know someone going through a similar situation, support them in any way that you can.