How Family Members Should Handle Divorce

December 12, 2016

Family members often feel concerned when a relative announces that they are getting a divorce. What do you say? How do you help them through this tough time? What can you do for them? All anyone wants is to help and support their loved ones, and hope that this time of crisis passes by smoothly. We know that divorce is one of the most difficult times for anyone, and even when you mean well you can come off wrong. This is why we will discuss what you should do, and what you shouldn’t do during this time. The most important first you should not do, is to give out any legal advice, or suggest any sort of strategy or tactic; unless you are a professional in divorce cases, or a lawyer. If you are not legally qualified on the matter, it would be best to keep your support outside legal advice.

One of the most destructive and most common phenomena seen during a divorce is when people start to give you advice. During a divorce, your family, friends, and even bystanders; will feel the need to give you advice. They have no reason to give you advice about something they are not professionally trained to do, as this “free advice” will only encourage fear, suspicion, and fights. So refrain for saying things like “make sure you have taken care of the money, so he/ she does not hide it” “make sure you get a chance to transfer the bank accounts before he/ she can” “make sure you get a brutal lawyer” and “hire a private detective to dig up dirt on them”. Saying such things does not make you a good support system, it is things you have heard around of seen in movies or shows. So take a reality check, and understand that you either know every little, or nothing about divorce cases. Just because you feel it is helpful advice, does not make it helpful advice. Keep in mind that every divorce is different, and unless and until you have professional or legal comprehensive knowledge, it will be best to refrain from giving out any advice on the matter.

Keep in mind that the person going through a divorce is already hurt, and panicked. So giving out such advice might encourage them to act out in ways that will hurt them. In such times try to act as a comforting agent, and make sure you do not instigate them, try to calm them down as much as possible. Remember your job is to help them and support them, so help them make the right decisions with a cool and collected mind, and support their decision through the divorce. Reassure them that things can be dealt with in good faith, and calm them down as often as you can. Let them speak and take out their aggression in front of you, so they can calm down and understand the matter in a stronger state of mind.

What you can do is reassure them, that you will stand by their side throughout this time, even if you feel like they know; it would be best to tell them once to their face. Keep in mind this support should not be against their spouse, it means you will be there to help them throughout the process. When someone is going through a divorce, there are times when they feel isolated; because they feel like their family does not support them or understand them. You will need to reassure them, that you are in fact standing with them. Try to comfort them as much as possible, and make sure they do not feel abandoned.

There is no reason for a divorce to get ugly, there are so many divorces that are resolved with dignity, and without creating any scenes. And there is no doubt, that when children are involved, it is best to factor in their feeling too. So if children are involved, it will be best to support a long term adjustment. Explain to your loved ones, how their children will be affected if things go ugly, and how they will benefit from a graceful divorce. There is no reason to take the divorce case to court, 99% of divorces are resolved through negotiation. There are a few rare cases that have to go to trial, so try to keep things on a low. And explain to them that, negotiating the matter would be best. Going through a trial is not an easy process, it will require a lot of effort, and things can get ugly. There is no need for their children to see this, because children need to see that their parents are getting along well. So your job is to explain to them how for their children’s sake, they need to take one for the team. Do not ask them to compromise on things, but explain to them how a healthy relationship between them and their spouse would be best.

It is all about making the appropriate choices, and the need to make the right decisions from the beginning. So the first thing you should do is, encourage their optimism not pessimism. You do not have to share their anger, in order to support them. Let them speak their mind, but explain to them how demonizing the other parent in front of their children is not a good idea. Try to encourage them to see the bigger picture. Never, encourage them to keep their kids away from them, only in extreme cases when he/ she has been violent. Otherwise, just because your family member is feeling hurt, does not mean they should make the other parent suffer by taking away their children. Explain to them how this will also affect the children, and how they will get hurt during the process. It is always advised to pursue mediation, which can help them find a fairground both parties would agree too. A mediator will help get out what is on both party’s minds, and help them get to an equally compromised situation.

If you are a parent of someone who is getting a divorce, it would be best for you to stay out of the mess. Never encourage fighting, it is understandable that you feel hurt when you see your child going through such a situation; but it will be best to stay calm. During this time, spend more time with your grandchildren, and make sure they are doing okay. It is never a good idea to say mean things about any one of their parent, so even when the conversation does come up keep it polite and try to explain without adding anything negative.