Navigating break-ups and divorce as a working dad

Divorce is a challenging and emotionally taxing experience for anyone. So how do we deal with it when there’s work to think about as well? Our regular columnist Alan Price of BrightHR explains.

navigating divorce working dad


We all walk the delicate balance between personal and professional life daily, and personal problems often find a way of surfacing in the workplace even when we try our best to avoid them.

But for working fathers, navigating the breakdown of a relationship whilst still having to go to work can be especially daunting as they strive to maintain career stability, adjust to potential changes to parental responsibilities, and protect their overall wellbeing.

Despite the challenges, there are important steps to take that can alleviate some of the stress and strain of going through a breakup to prevent it from impacting your job performance.

Open communication

In the world of work, there is an unwritten and potentially now outdated belief that employees should keep their personal and professional lives separate, leaving their woes at home. This attitude is especially prevalent in men as they’re traditionally socialised to be more likely to hide how they feel and try to maintain a strong façade amongst peers.

But given that we spend so much of our lives at work, and because mental health is inextricably linked with morale and productivity, communication is key. Feeling confident to raise the situation with a line manager or HR will help foster understanding should there be any temporary changes in performance or work schedule.

It’s essential to strike a balance between sharing enough information to garner support without oversharing personal details.

Seek support

Divorce can be an isolating experience. But you’d be surprised by how many of your colleagues can provide invaluable advice or even empathy based on their own experiences.

The importance of opening up and talking cannot be underestimated when it comes to your mental health. Just make sure personal conversations are held outside of core office hours to avoid, if possible, any interference with your work.

Many modern workplaces see the value of prioritising mental health and actively seeking support. More and more employers have started introducing mental health first aiders who can lend a listening ear or signpost employees to get the right support.

Time management

During a divorce, managing your time effectively becomes vital. It can help to create a realistic schedule that allows you to fulfil your work obligations without compromising on your personal life or missing out on quality time with your children.

When at work it’s important to prioritise tasks, delegate when possible, and avoid overextending yourself so you can create a healthy work-life balance and mitigate work stress.

Legal and financial preparation

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the legal and financial toll the divorce process can take. Even if the divorce is considered straightforward, it can take as long as 6 months to complete so you will need to prepare yourself mentally and financially for this timeframe.

To ease your worries, it’s always advisable to seek out impartial guidance and advice either by joining a support group or finding advice through a reliable online source like Citizens Advice.

Financially, it’s crucial to establish a budget and consider your child’s financial needs. Planning for child support and other financial obligations can help reduce stress and provide a sense of stability during the transition.

Flexibility at work

In today’s evolving work environment, many employers offer flexible work arrangements. Flexible work can take the pressure off a variety of things that fall out of sync when you’re going through a divorce.

For example, navigating childcare arrangements, school pick-ups, court appointments, and other new and changing responsibilities you may have.

Discussing the possibility of flexible hours, remote work options, or compressed work weeks with your employer can make balancing these aspects of your life a lot easier.


Taking care of yourself is essential during a divorce and something that could easily slip by the wayside.

Make sure you prioritise self-care activities and things that can boost your wellbeing and reduce stress like exercise, meditation, and spending time with loved ones.

Maintaining your physical and emotional wellbeing will help you stay resilient and manage emotional, and workplace stresses more effectively.

Divorce is undoubtedly one of life’s most challenging experiences, but with the right strategies and support, working fathers can successfully manage the transition both at home and in the workplace. Remember, you are not alone, and with time and support, you can emerge from divorce as a stronger and more resilient individual, and father.

Read more:

New study reveals how businesses measure up

Solicitors welcome steps for divorce leave

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