During your divorce, you’ll be busy dividing property and creating a custody and access plan that works for your family – but have you thought about who gets custody of your friends after the divorce? A judge isn’t going to rule on your friendships, and it’s unlikely that you and your ex will work out a visitation plan… so what happens to your friends?

Every Friendship is Different

Many divorcing couples suffer from “scattered friend syndrome.” Once they announce the divorce, friends seem to disappear. There are several reasons that friends – even longtime pals – head for the hills, including the fact that they’re subconsciously afraid that your divorce is contagious. Some friends just might not know how to act or what to say, while others might be absorbed in their own lives and their own issues.

Premarital Friends and Post-Marital Friends

Most people find that the friends they’ve had since before their marriage stick to their side of the divorce. Think of it as custody-by-default; you had them first, and they’ll continue to be yours after the divorce is over.

Friends you’ve made with your ex-spouse are another story. They may have a hard time maintaining friendships with both of you, particularly because as friends, they want to take someone’s side.

Keeping Your Friendships Alive During Divorce

Losing track of time is easy during divorce. You have a lot going on, which means time slips by and your friendships often take a backseat to your current issues.

However, it’s important that you keep in touch with your friends so they know you’re okay and that you need them.

There’s one condition: don’t make everything about you all the time. Yes, you’re going through a lot – but so are your friends, and it’s a good idea to focus your energy on them, as well, so you don’t alienate them in the process. Friendship is a two-way street, and while you may need to rely heavily on your friends during divorce, don’t neglect their needs.

If You Need Someone to Talk To

Sometimes it’s helpful to have an outlet, and if you need to talk to someone other than your friends about what you’re going through, you might benefit from seeing a therapist. Ask your Scarborough divorce lawyer if he or she knows a local professional who might be able to help.