I recently posted an interesting article on my social media sites about people creating “divorce registries” for themselves after their marriage ends. The article posed the novel idea that friends and family can be invited to buy the divorcing person gifts from a register in the same way people getting married have gift registries. Articles like this are always fun to post because of their sarcastic messages about going through a divorce. Most people I know who have gone or are going through a divorce appreciate a little sarcasm now and then.
After posting this article I reflected on how much aid should people give to their divorcing friends. As a longtime divorce attorney, I share the following thoughts on the subject.
Divorces tear down a person’s old life and they are faced with having to rebuild a new one, sometimes from scratch. Some people have it worse than others. I have seen on many occasions clients who would not make it through a divorce without the help of a friend. The last thing we want to see is our friends and their children become homeless due to the strains of their divorce.
So how much aid should you give your divorcing friend? I guess it depends on a variety of factors. How close of a friend are you with the person you are helping? How bad off is your friend? How much can you give of yourself? How much of your friend’s problems will become your own problem?
Sometimes people going through a divorce need a place to live during the initial transition when they leave the family residence. Giving them a place to sleep such as your living room couch or your spare bedroom can go a long way. Make sure, however, that your friend is trustworthy enough, not to make your home their new permanent residence before you offer your abode.
Coming to the aid of a divorcing friend can also mean giving them your time to listen and hang out. Scheduling one day a week to hang out with your friend can provide a great deal of comfort. Calling them regularly to check in on them is highly recommended because people going through a divorce need to know there are people who care.
Giving or loaning money to a friend going through a divorce is also a real act of love, but it should be done with a degree of caution. Don’t destroy your own financial security paying for your friend’s divorce. However, should contribute to your friend’s divorce registry. I say, why not?
The one thing I would highly advise you not to do is to become your friend's Knight in Shining Armor related to the divorce proceedings. Keep a respectful distance from the proceedings. Steer away from creating a war room mentality where you spend hours every day with your friend strategizing how to win the divorce. Friends who want to help people going through a divorce should avoid becoming their pseudo lawyers or combat coaches. Don’t bring the chaos into your own life. It would not be good for you or your friend. After all, stability more than else is what people need.