Who Gets Custody of the Friends?

Karen Stewart, President of Fairway Divorce Solutions, says that in addition to splitting up your CD’s in a divorce, you are also forced to cut off an entire social network that may have been nurtured for years.

“Within a circle of friends, you expect certain people to align with you,” Stewart is quoted as saying in a Toronto Sun article by Tanya Engberg.  “Friends can’t be in both camps, but often they don’t know what to do. Their normal stance is, ‘I think it’s best if I stay out of it,’ but that’s not the way it works. Your family and close friends can’t stay out of it.”

Divorce is an entire life overhaul.  In addition to the end of the romance, you have to accept the loss of your former spouse’s family members and friends that you have known for years.

“For me, I closed that chapter and started all over,” says a 41-year-old divorced father with two children.  “I maintained friendships for a short while, but it became uncomfortable. They do take sides, no matter what they tell you. Parents are always going to support their own child. If you want to start over, you have to cut ties with mutual friends and say goodbye to the in-laws.”

Stewart says that saying goodbye is tough, but inevitable.

4 thoughts on “Who Gets Custody of the Friends?

  1. Matthew

    This phenomenon is probably made more immediate in a social media world, where following a divorce one may have many people “un-friend” them on Facebook.

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  3. Matthew

    Great article, James. My clients report a similar experience. While many expect the in-laws to “circle the wagons,” some are surprised that friends do the same. Friends definitely take sides, and it’s important for a divorcing person to be aware and anticipate the potential loss of emotional support and community.

  4. James J. Gross Post author

    Matthew: You definitely need someone to talk to during a divorce. If you don’t have family or friends, here are some ways to cope. See a therapist, join a gym, take dance lessons, get in a beach house, start your own social club, become a member of the Washington Board of Trade or join New Beginnings.

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