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Telling your parents about your divorce

Wednesday, November, 6, 2013


Jennifer Safian of Safian Mediation ( discusses some things to consider when having to tell you parents about your divorce.

There is much thought given to how to tell the children about a divorce, but what about telling the parents? For many couples, telling the parents is probably the most stressful conversation next to telling their children.

One would think that most parents would be supportive of their children and “rally to the occasion” but unfortunately, that is not always so. I actually know of a case in which the wife’s parents completely rejected her and took on her soon-to-be ex as their child!

Even in cases that are not so extreme, whether your parents feel that you are making the right decision or not, they will be saddened and possibly shocked by the news. At the same time, they will be concerned about you and your future.

People getting divorced are fearful of:

  • Disappointing their parents
  • Parental judgment
  • Breaking family traditions
  • No longer being together with the parents for important occasions and celebrations
  • Parents trying to take over their life; telling them what to do
  • Not getting the support they need
  • Hearing the “I told you so!”

Give your parents a reason.

You don’t need to give your parents all the details of your life; but giving them the reason for your breakup may help them to better understand and support your decision.

Tell them your plan.

Your parents are concerned about your future. Sharing the outline of your plans for moving forward will let them know that you have given thought to the next step in your life.

Tell them if you need their help.

Let your parents know that you will need their emotional support during this very stressful time in your life. If you need financial help while you are getting your life back in shape, discuss it with them. Your parents may not know how to best assist you, so tell them.

Do not let your parents push you into staying in an unhappy relationship.

Your parents may not agree with your decision and encourage you to “try and work it out.” Let them know that:

    • You have not made this decision lightly.
    • You have worked on your marriage.
    • You are sorry to disappoint them.
    • You need them to respect and support your decision.

If you have children, your parents will from time to time interact with your ex-spouse.

There will be many occasions in your children’s lives where both families come together. At those times, you want your parents to remain cordial with your children’s other parent. An antagonistic relationship between them will certainly make it more difficult for you, but more importantly, it will make it very difficult for your children.

Your divorce does impact your parents, but at the end of the day, it is your life and your children’s life that is most important.


If you have any questions or concerns about Mediation, or would like to schedule a no fee mediation consultation, please don’t hesitate to contact me today!

Jennifer Safian, Mediator

jennifer safian divorce and family mediator

phone: (212) 472-8626 email: [email protected] website:

Divorce and Family Mediation Upper East Side of Manhattan (NYC) New York, NY