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Dividing friends in divorce

When your divorce becomes final, the divorce settlement or decree will detail how you and your former spouse should divide everything you owned jointly, from children to pets to real estate and personal property. However, that decree will not contain any instructions or advice on how to divide friends and others to whom you were close prior to the split, leaving it up to the now-divorced couple to navigate that particular challenge.

Although this may seem trivial, friends can be a very valuable asset during and after a divorce, offering both you and your former spouse much-needed support, comfort and assistance as you go through the legal and personal challenges of a split. So how should you and your former spouse decide which of you should get ‘custody’ over certain friends after your divorce?

Unfortunately, that decision may not be completely up to you. Your friends will need to decide for themselves how they want to handle their friendships with you and your former spouse. And if a friend prioritizes their relationship with your spouse over you, it is important to be accepting. Remember that your spouse also needs the same friendship, support and assistance that you need in the wake of your divorce.

As such, it is important that you not react to such a decision with anger or bitterness. While you don’t have much control over which friends stick by you after divorce, you can easily drive them away by trying to sway them over to your ‘side’ or attempting to convince them that your former spouse is not deserving of their friendship. As with many other aspects of divorce, this one may be out of your control, so it is best to just approach the situation with patience and understanding.

Source: Huffington Post, “Intangible Assets: Who Gets Custody of your Friends after your Divorce?” Christina Pesoli, Sept. 26, 2012

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