Divorce Disclosure: Who to Tell & When

May 29, 2024
Erika Holter

Article written by Erika Holter

Navigating a divorce or separation comes with challenges. Telling others the news doesn't make it any easier. Beyond the initial, tough conversation with your kids, there are others who should also be informed. Deciding when and how to share this news can help ensure that both you and your children receive the support you need. Here we provide some advice to help you determine the best time to inform specific people in your life, balancing your wishes for privacy with the need for support.

Telling Your Child’s Daycare Providers

If your children are in daycare, informing their caregivers is important. These professionals spend a lot of time with your child. They can be a tremendous resource in noticing and addressing any behavioural changes or emotional distress. It’s crucial to choose a time to have this conversation when you are ready, but there are certain circumstances when earlier disclosure may be best.


For instance, if your separation is causing noticeable stress in your household that might affect your child’s behaviour, it's better to inform the daycare staff sooner rather than later. This allows them to provide the necessary emotional support and to be more understanding of any sudden changes in your child. When you do decide to share this information, make sure to be clear about the situation and provide any details that might help them support your child to the best of their ability.

School teacher motivating a young primary school kid outside class. Child mentor talking to a troubled school boy. Support and encouragement for a student in elementary school.

Informing Teachers and School Staff

Teachers and school staff are another group of people who should be informed about your separation or divorce. Schools are not just educational institutions. They are places where children develop social skills and emotional resilience. Teachers can be an invaluable source of support and stability for your child during this time.

Again, timing may be crucial. If your child is experiencing academic or social difficulties as a result of the family changes, it is important to inform their teachers sooner. Teachers who are aware of the situation can be more patient and offer additional support where needed. They can also keep an eye on your child for any signs of distress and get involved as needed.

However, if your child is coping well and you prefer to keep the matter private for a while longer, that is also valid. Just be mindful that changes at home often eventually manifest in school behaviour and performance, so staying in touch with teachers and being ready to share when necessary is wise.

Mum as friend love care hold hand adult child feel pain sad worry of life crisis issues

When to Tell Close Family and Friends

Close family and friends are typically informed early in the process because they are your primary support network. However, deciding the right time to tell them can be complex. You might still need time to process the separation yourself before you are ready to share it with others.

When you do decide to tell close family and friends, choose a moment when you feel emotionally prepared. Their reactions can vary, and being prepared for a range of responses will help you handle the conversation more effectively. It's also helpful to have a clear narrative about your decision, focusing on your mutual respect and commitment to co-parenting.

Informing Extended Family and Acquaintances

Extended family and acquaintances, such as neighbors and community members, can be informed on a need-to-know basis. There’s no rush to tell everyone right away. It’s perfectly okay to take your time and tell people when you feel ready – it is your news to share.

If there are family gatherings or community events where your separation might be obvious, you may want to consider informing the relevant individuals beforehand to avoid any awkwardness. Providing a brief, calm explanation can help manage the flow of information and prevent gossip.

Young serious busy professional business woman employee

Advising Employers and Coworkers

Telling your boss and coworkers about your separation or divorce can be tricky. You don’t always have to share personal issues at work, but sometimes it can help. If your work might suffer because of emotional stress or if you need to change your schedule for childcare, it’s a good idea to talk to your employer.

Have this conversation in a private, professional setting. Focus on how your situation might affect your work and what temporary adjustments you might need. Keeping the discussion professional and focused on solutions will help you get the support you need while maintaining your work image.

Balancing Privacy and Support

Deciding who to tell about your separation or divorce and when is a deeply personal decision. It's important to prioritize your well-being and that of your children while also considering the practicalities of your situation. Communicating thoughtfully and at the right time can help build a supportive network around you and your children, providing stability during this period of change.

Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Take the time you need to process your emotions and make decisions that best suit your family’s needs. Whether you choose to share your news immediately or wait until the time feels right, ensuring that your children receive the support they need from those around them is the ultimate goal. As always, your team at Shulman & Partners is here to provide any support or advice you might require.