The Community Divorce

“Who gets the friends?”  Dividing assets and liabilities, although sometimes difficult, are easier than dividing the friends. The dining room table doesn’t have feelings or opinions, friends do.

Your social network, which includes family, will all have an opinion. Some will feel obligated to support one of you over the other. Those who are in your confidence will be inclined to “take your side”. Same will be true with your spouse.  It will actually be up to you help everyone know how to behave, and go forward.

One of the most awkward and sensitive situations involves family. If you or your spouse has become close to the in-laws, all the feelings, reasons for the divorce will have to be resolved somehow if you want to maintain good, friendly relations. While you are grieving the loss of the marriage, so are they. If grandchildren are involved, it is critical that you maintain your relationship for their sake. After all, everyone will be attending performances, games, baptisms, graduations, etc. Ask them if you can speak with them. State your sad feelings about the demise of the marriage and own any part you may have had. Talk about your love for them and hesitance to lose the relationship. Ask if there is a way to go forward. Many families continue to include ex’s in family functions.

You should sit down together and talk about all the friends, aquaintances and social connections you have. Many will work themselves out; his golfing or poker buddies, her girlfriends will be easy. Couple friends with whom you have socialized and traveled with will need to know it is okay to like both of you and invite both of you to functions. This will be easier if you don’t hold open animosity towards each other and treat each other with kindness and respect. The real problem comes when one of you begins to date and wants to bring your new paramour to parties to which you have been invited. There is a socially acceptable period of time that you need to wait before doing this. Your mother would say wait at least one year, modern day manners would probably give six months a nod of approval.