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Talking to Your Employer When You Are Going Through a Divorce

Martin Castilla            No comments            Sep, 23

Employers should be doing everything they can to make sure employees feel comfortable and able to do their jobs, and because everybody has a life outside of work, this can sometimes mean that they need to know about circumstances in an employee’s life that may be having a big effect on them. Here is a quick guide to talking to your employer when you are going through a divorce.

1. Divorce

If you are going through a divorce, this can be a difficult time and it may be that you prefer not to discuss it too much at work. However, it is always a good idea to at least make your line manager and your HR representative aware of your circumstances. This may be unavoidable if you will need to make changes to your staff data, for instance if you are changing your name, address, or the beneficiaries on any policies that you have as part of your benefits package, but it can also make things easier for you to have the people you work with be aware of and sympathetic to your current challenges. Ensuring you have a good divorce lawyer will help you with this process by making sure you are getting all the support you need from your workplace. Making sure you are working with a divorce lawyer specializing in ERISA law can be beneficial too, so you can understand your rights when it comes to financial matters.

2. What You Need to Tell Them

One of the most important things you should be making your employer aware of is whether or not you will be needing time off, or whether it may benefit you to have a change in working patterns, for example working from home or having more flexible hours, while you deal with practicalities like moving, or meeting with your divorce lawyer. Your case will be unique to your own circumstances; if you have a complicated family law situation, for example, you may need to meet with your lawyer more frequently than if your divorce is simple. Make sure you are working with a good family law attorney who will be able to give you an idea early on of how demanding your case will be, so you can give your employer an idea of what to expect.

3. Broaching the Subject

Depending on your relationships with the people you work with closely, you may find it easy to bring up the subject privately, or you may need to actually request a meeting with your manager to talk to them about it and inform them of your situation and any needs you may have during this period. If you do not feel completely comfortable talking to your boss about it one on one, you can always ask for an HR person or even just a friend from your team to come with you. Discussing personal matters with a manager you don’t have a close relationship with can feel difficult, but managers are expected to be able to support their staff when it’s needed, and they can only do that if they are informed about what is going on, so it is well worth making the appointment and telling them about your situation.

It can definitely be less stressful going through a divorce, especially when you hire someone like, when you don’t have to also worry about being judged negatively at work if you need time off or if you are showing signs of strain in the office, so do make at least the key people aware of what you are facing.