Even if it is civil, divorce is a difficult time that brings a lot of changes. That is what divorce etiquette is all about. It is about helping you make that transition as smoothly as possible as well as adapting to life after the divorce.
Just to keep things in perspective, there are few things in life that are as difficult as a divorce. When you take a relationship of two people that were in love and then those two people go their separate ways, it requires a major life adjustment.
The purpose of this web page is not about what you should ask for during the divorce settlement. That is far beyond the scope of this website. Since our site focuses on manners and etiquette, we thought that a page on how to use manners and etiquette during a divorce would be appropriate.
From a manners and etiquette point of view, it is important to understand that a divorce will have lasting effects on people even years after the divorce is complete. It may end the marriage, but it does not end the relationship. There will still be a relationship after the divorce, be it good or bad. Here is what we mean:
Even after the divorce, you are likely going to still run into them at various places. We know plenty of people that tell us about attending a wedding of a friend where the "ex" was also invited. Those kind of situations can be very uncomfortable.
If the couple had kids together, then there will likely be some sort of court arrangement where both parents have time with the kids. So, there will be coordination of schedules between the two of you for years after the divorce.
This can be another reason that it is important to remain civil during, and after, the divorce. Divorce etiquette is taking the time to treat each other with respect and courtesy when you least feel like it. Because the truth is, there will be repercussions for years to come.
Dealing with a divorce is a hard thing. Studies show that if kids are involved in the divorce, that it takes a psychological toll on their lives. If you do not feel like using your manners in a divorce, think about the kids and do it for their sake. Their future development is somewhat dependent on how this life adjustment goes.
If you look at the section of our website where people can ask us a manners or etiquette question, you will notice that many of the questions are how people should handle meeting the "ex" or meeting the new boyfriend or girlfriend of the "ex." Simply put, divorce complicates things and it can be awkward down the road to deal with those issues.
The whole point here is that even though you might be going through a difficult time with a lot of angry, hurt emotions, you have to stop and think. Think about the kids. Think about the future. Think about the other person's feelings and well being. When you do that, your divorce etiquette can actually help you get through a difficult time in your life.