Your divorce is a very personal process. If you’re an inherently private person, you may not feel like discussing the situation with your boss at all.

Here’s why you should have that conversation anyway and how to do it in a way that doesn’t damage your standing on the job:

Your boss needs to know what’s happening

There’s almost no possibility that your divorce will remain totally under wraps. You may need time off for court appearances and mediation meetings. You may need time to speak with your attorney. If your spouse is vindictive, you may even be served with some notices at work.

To minimize any issues, remember to keep the details of your divorce to yourself. Your boss only needs to know that the divorce is happening — not why. Let your boss know that you’ll keep the distractions to a minimum. If you’re going to need flexibility in your schedule (and you probably will), focus on what needs to happen there.

You need to talk to human resources

Part of your divorce planning should involve knowing all the details you can about your retirement plan, pension, insurance coverage and more. Eventually, you will also probably need to make updates to your paperwork and, if applicable, discuss how support payments to your ex-spouse or children will be handled.

You’re probably not the first person in the company to get a divorce, so use your human resources department as a source of valuable information. Again, however, you want to focus on the practical aspects of your divorce, like changes to your contact information and insurance — not the nitty-gritty details of why you are there.

You may need to tell your colleagues

If you’re going to need to shift your responsibilities for a while to other people or take time off here and there, your co-workers may be left wondering about what’s happening. The rumor mill can go into overdrive and negatively affect how you’re treated by the people who work with you and for you.

Letting your co-workers know the broad basics of your situation — without any sordid information — can stop the gossip from starting and make them more understanding (and gracious about accommodating you).

Going through a divorce can be rough, but you don’t have to go through it alone. An experienced attorney can help guide you.

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