Even when your divorce is expected, you’re going to struggle with intense feelings like anger, depression, and heartbreak. It’s hard, and maintaining your usual high performance can be difficult, especially if your divorce is contested and you’re facing weeks or months of litigation.

Although you are not legally required to tell your boss about the divorce, doing so can be in your best interests- and theirs, especially if the proceedings are contentious. Dealing with such an emotionally-taxing experience can affect your work schedule. On some days, you may have to take a morning or afternoon off to attend court, and your mood will likely be more subdued until everything is over with.

How to talk to your boss

The best approach is to focus on how the divorce could impact you on a professional level. Will you have to take some days off for court or mediation sessions? Will you temporarily need a lighter workload until the worst is over?

Ask your boss what changes will have to be made to your employee details. You will have to update your marital status and make any associated adjustments, such as updated healthcare information and tax details.

Refrain from sharing information about what led to the marriage breakdown. Don’t point fingers, complain, or come across as bitter or angry, as it could raise questions about your ability to remain professional. If your boss is understanding about your difficulties, then you should also refrain from unintentionally taking advantage by letting the divorce affect your work performance for longer than necessary.

Should you tell co-workers?

Although your boss should know about your divorce (how it will affect your availability, for example), it’s different with your co-workers. If any of them are friends outside of the workplace, then they likely know already that you’ve been having marital problems. Those whom you’re not close to may ask too many well-intentioned questions afterward, making it difficult to focus on your work.

Reorganize your workspace

Take some time to reorganize your office or workspace. Put away all paper and files lying around, straighten up any bookshelves, and remove anything that could remind you of your spouse, such as photos or souvenirs from trips that you took together. You’ll feel better afterward and can face your work responsibilities with a clearer mind.

When you’re filing for divorce in New York, your attorney may be able to recommend ways that you can deal constructively with this life-changing event. Their goal is to get you through the divorce with the resources you need to move forward, so don’t hesitate to ask them about therapists and support groups that can help you process your feelings and be more positive about the future.