You did it! You finally landed a new job that you are super excited about. This is going to make your life so much better, which in turn will make life so much better for your kids, too. Congratulations.
Then, you freeze. What do you tell your ex? Does he need to know about your new job? Will it cause more problems between you? Will you be in trouble with the court if you do not tell him? So many questions start to run around, all of which are perfectly legit.
Good thing you have a lawyer friend right here. Let’s talk about what to tell your ex about your new job.
First and Foremost, Check Your Court Order
When in doubt, always refer back to your court ordered divorce decree and/or parenting plan. Is there anything in there that requires you to share information with your ex? If so, exactly what are you required to share? Sometimes you need to share major life changes so that you are both aware of what is going on with your kids. Often you need to report significant changes in income, especially if child support or alimony are involved. Check your court order and make sure you understand what it says. If the language is vague (What qualifies as “major” and “significant” anyway?), talk to a lawyer so that you fully understand your obligations. A quick post-divorce coaching session is perfect for questions like this.
Do They Need to Know?
The next question to ask yourself is whether or not your ex needs to know about your new job. They may need to know if it requires and tweaks your custody schedule, or if you will be switching the kids to new health insurance. They most likely need to know if it means you will be moving, especially out of your current neighborhood. If it’s not ordered by the court, look at whether your new job will be impacting them at all. Then, decide what to share accordingly.
Imagine The Consequences
New jobs bring a lot of new things with them – schedules, income, and overall lifestyle. What will happen if/when you tell your ex about your new job?
If you think they will be spiteful and take that out on you or on the kids, then revisit whether you are really required to tell them anything to begin with.
If your income is changing and that impacts how much alimony or child support you get (or pay), would telling your ex be to your benefit? Does your court order or local laws require you to divulge this information regardless?
Do you think your ex would use it as a reason to take you back to court, even if it doesn’t make any sense? Remember, you need to fight a court case even if it has no merit. If your ex is the type to file things for no reason just to drive you crazy, you should take that into consideration.
One of the biggest questions involves relocation. Does your job require you to move? If so, make sure you are extremely clear on what your court order and local laws say about relocation. You may be required to give your ex notice of the relocation, but not necessarily about the specifics of your new job.
If you want to rub it in your ex’s face that you’ve been successful at something, I get it. Really, I do. It also does a great job of making new partners jealous, which can be so tempting. But as I commonly advise, be the bigger person. Remember that your life is about you and not about your ex. Enjoy and savor your success without needing to rub his nose in it. It will be a healthier attitude and outcome for your entire family.
If you are unsure of what to tell your ex about your new job, or about anything for that matter, click here to schedule a post-divorce coaching session with me. We’ll comb through your Missouri court order and figure out exactly what you should do to reach your goals.