Divorce

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
Anonymous User
Posts: 327278
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Divorce

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 15, 2017 10:09 pm

In the coming months, barring a major turnaround, I will be filing for divorce from my husband. This is not a divorce caused by or related to big law--we should have split up a couple years before I graduated law school--but now it is a divorce that will be happening in a big law office. My practice group is on the smaller side, so we are fairly close knit, and I'm hoping to get through this mess with as little impact on my professional life as possible. No infidelity, no physical abuse, no addictions, no children, no financial entanglements, so this should hopefully be a relatively clean separation.

What's the most graceful way you've seen a coworker handle a divorce? I am planning to keep this as much out of the office as possible and just reply with "unfortunately, we've separated" to any questions about him after the divorce papers are filed. Good plan, or should I proactively bring it up to the 2-3 people I trust most as a quiet heads up?

I'd like to handle this as professionally, maturely, and kindly as possible, so any best practices are welcome. I'd also welcome advice on ensuring that this mess does not bleed into my work as much as possible.

arklaw13

Gold
Posts: 1862
Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2012 2:36 pm

Re: Divorce

Postby arklaw13 » Sun Jan 15, 2017 10:17 pm

Unlikely, but unclear from the post: do you both work at the same firm? If not, I can't imagine how it would be that big of a deal, as prevalent as divorce is in biglaw.

User avatar
zhenders

Silver
Posts: 942
Joined: Tue Dec 17, 2013 10:21 pm

Re: Divorce

Postby zhenders » Sun Jan 15, 2017 10:18 pm

Your post is a bit unclear: do the two of you currently work together/in the same firm? If that is the issue, i would imagine you both are interested in its going smoothly. Are the two of you on good enough terms that, in the interests of professionalism, you could draft a joint letter stating the separation is happening on respectful terms and that you both look forward to your continued dedication to your work and coworkers, etc?

If you don't work in he same place, what are your concerns exactly?

Edit: scooped but too lazy to edit

Anonymous User
Posts: 327278
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Divorce

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 15, 2017 10:32 pm

OP here: Sorry. We do not work at the same firm. God, that would be a nightmare.

There is only one attorney in my practice group (~20) who has been divorced. Everyone else is either single or has been married to the same person for years. Someone even brought up at lunch a few months ago how rare it is to have an office with so many great, strong, long-term marriages in it. So I'm concerned about doing something that--at my office--is an outlier, and I'm concerned about handling this in a way that does as little damage to my career as possible. I'm primarily looking for advice on that latter point.

User avatar
zhenders

Silver
Posts: 942
Joined: Tue Dec 17, 2013 10:21 pm

Re: Divorce

Postby zhenders » Sun Jan 15, 2017 10:49 pm

Got it. I think this probably depends mostly on your working dynamics, but your idea to bring it up to the people you're closest to seems the right approach to me. I went through a divorce in a professional setting (pre law school), and I followed what I now consider to be really good advice: in the workplace, it's probably best for it to be more matter-of-fact, avoid blame conversations at all costs, and present it as a mutual decision. If you just tell a few people, word will get around fast enough (I wouldn't swear anyone to secrecy or anything -- just let the info disperse by osmosis). So long as you avoid giving too many details or presenting it as juicy in any way, you should be fine.

That said, you know the people in your group better than anyone; if you perceive anyone important as morally opposed to divorce, you may need to make a judgment call as to whether it's worth it to let them find out, or to make them one of the people you tell directly so that you can frame it in a manner of your choosing.

Lastly, the divorce always feels like the biggest deal to the divorcee; you're the one living it, after all. It's likely not going to be as impactful as you imagine, unless you carry it with you to the office most days. If you feel like you might, that's something to think about too -- everyone deals with it differently.

Best of luck! I hope ultimately there is much happiness in store for you after the difficulty of it all starts to pass.

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse

Diamond
Posts: 29306
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: Divorce

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Jan 16, 2017 1:24 am

I haven't been divorced, but a friend of mine at work went through a divorce (similar to yours) soon after she started, and I think the above makes sense. I know I definitely had more than a few conversations with her about what was wrong with the ex (she was the one who filed), but she largely kept it out of the office. Sometimes she had to just shut her door to deal with things/cry, but she didn't complain about it, dwell on juicy stuff, or make excuses to anyone, and no one made a big thing out of it (and there are LOTS of married people where I work). She didn't tell most people until after it was finalized (she kind of had to at that point because she changed her name back). I do think she told her supervisor, though, as a sort of heads up - "I'm going through this thing and I may need to take leave periodically and I wanted to let you know in case I seem weird/upset at any point, but it's nothing to do with work."

(Admittedly as you probably tell we're not in big law, but in case it's helpful.)

User avatar
elendinel

Silver
Posts: 975
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2014 12:29 pm

Re: Divorce

Postby elendinel » Mon Jan 16, 2017 1:49 pm

I don't see how this would affect your job in any way, so long as you keep it out of the office. I don't think you need to tell anyone unless you know you'll be out one day doing divorce stuff and someone wants a huge project done that day/unless you have friends you want to tell. Go into a private bathroom/on a walk/close your office door if you get emotional and need a moment by yourself for a few minutes or so.

Considering there is someone else who is divorced and you didn't say they're about to be laid off anytime soon, I'm guessing the divorced guy/gal isn't being persecuted for being divorced, and therefore you shouldn't be waiting for that to happen to you, either. If the group is known for persecuting divorcees, though, it's going to happen no matter what you do, because no matter what you do, you're going to be a divorcee. So if that's the case, all you can do is acknowledge that this is going to happen, and then decide how you're going to address that. You can't reason with biases.



Return to “Legal Employment�

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.