The average person who decides to file for divorce knows that their personal life and financial circumstances are probably about to change. What fewer people consider is that divorce can also impact their professional success in their careers.
While you may not think of the end of your marriage as having any relevance to your job, the reality is that the end of your marriage can profoundly impact upward mobility in any career path. Divorce can also lead to friction and changes in seemingly unrelated areas of your life, including your career.
Expect to miss some days of work for court
Employers expect you to be there every day unless you have a very good reason not to be. Obviously, attending your own divorce hearings is an adequate reason to miss work, but that still doesn’t mean your employer will be happy about the prospect of you tending to personal issues during business hours.
The more protected and dramatic your divorce proceedings become, the more hours away from the office you will have to commit to the process. Even employers who are usually flexible and forgiving may become frustrated with workers who have to repeatedly miss part or all of their workday to go to court.
People going through a divorce can be hard to work with
You expect support or at least the right to work in peace when you’re struggling in your personal life. However, your job could become increasingly difficult because of your personal life.
The emotional upheaval that divorce causes can affect your performance at work and how you interact with your co-workers. Getting the right help, including legal representation and potentially counseling, can make it easier for you to maintain a professional demeanor despite the difficulties of your divorce.
Public records of divorce testimony could impact your reputation
It is common for couples to air dirty laundry as part of their divorce. From exposing issues with substance abuse to claiming infidelity, all kinds of private information can suddenly become public record.
A competitor, your boss or even a journalist could attend court or request copies of the official transcripts, leaving you vulnerable to professional embarrassment. Especially in cases where personal issues like infidelity overlap with work issues because the other person works for the same company, the information disclosed during your divorce could leave you vulnerable professionally.
Sharing child custody can also affect attendance
If you succeed in securing 50/50 shared custody with your ex in the divorce, that may mean that some days you have to leave work to pick your kids up from school or because they suddenly fall ill. The more parenting time and responsibilities you have, the greater the potential for complications during your workday.
Although employers tend to be relatively forgiving of the occasional family issue, the potential remains for employers to become upset with workers who have to leave for personal reasons. If you aren’t flexible and willing to work with your ex, custody issues can be an ongoing struggle.
Working with your ex through alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation, can help you avoid embarrassing court records or protracted legal battles. In other words, with a careful approach, you can potentially mitigate all of the professional consequences of your pending divorce.