Divorce is a major life event, so it will have at least some effect on your work. Even a drama-free, amicable divorce is going to take some time and attention away from your professional responsibilities. That doesn’t mean it has to affect your performance or jeopardize your job. The last thing you need is to worry about losing your income.
You have the power to control how much people in your workplace know about your divorce. You certainly don’t want your divorce to become fodder for workplace gossip. However, you should share some limited information with your boss and a Human Resources representative, if you have one onsite.
Tell your boss before anyone else
You don’t have to notify them immediately, but you should tell them before you need to take any time off for a court date or added child care responsibilities. If you’re going to tell anyone else at work — even a close friend — don’t do it until you tell your manager. Most bosses don’t like to feel like they’re out of the loop. You don’t want them hearing it from someone else first.
Don’t tell your boss more than necessary. All they need to know is that you and your spouse are divorcing, you’re committed to not letting it affect your work and you may occasionally need a little time off to deal with appointments or your children. Ask for their help in keeping the matter private.
What changes do you need to make with HR?
You may not need to notify them right away, unless you’ve moved or you no longer want your soon-to-be-ex to be your emergency contact. Eventually, you may need their help getting information related to your salary and retirement plan for the divorce.
Later, you’ll probably need to make changes to your insurance, tax forms and possibly your name. HR professionals know this information needs to remain confidential, but if you’re dealing with someone else in your workplace on these matters, you’ll want to make that point.
You can also keep your divorce out of your workplace by not dealing with personal phone calls, texts and emails during work hours. Try to reach an agreement with your spouse that you won’t contact each other while you’re working unless it’s an emergency. Having sound legal guidance during your divorce can help you remain focused on your work.