Divorce is such an emotional roller coaster for everyone involved, and believe it or not, there are things that can be done to make the process just a little bit easier. Eventually, it will all be over and you can get on with your life, but until then, the following list might be helpful as you go on this journey:
1. Educate yourself.
This may be the first time that you have thought of a divorce. If it is, you need to know what to expect. You don’t want any surprises to pop up. Ask questions. If you don’t understand something, ask your lawyer. It is okay to look things up on the Internet, but remember that not all things you find on the internet are facts. However, it may help you formulate questions to discuss with your attorney.
2. Don’t let the stories of others terrify you.
Although the law remains steady for everyone, each divorce has different circumstances. Remember this as you hear what has happened to others.
3. If you have children, make them your first priority.
Divorces tend to bring out the worst in people. Don’t let your children get caught in the middle. Remember, it isn’t their fault, and they should not have to suffer anymore than necessary. They are already experiencing changes, and it is your job to ensure that they continue to flourish throughout this process.
4. Get relevant financial papers together.
You are going to need all of your financial papers including check stubs, bank statements, retirement accounts, etc. If you start collecting them as soon as you begin to think about divorce, it will make the process so much simpler.
5. Set goals.
The Cheshire Cat said it best in Alice in Wonderland when he told Alice that it really didn’t matter which way she went since she didn’t know where she wanted to go. You need to decide on desired outcomes for your life after the divorce, and then, develop a plan. Although all of your desires might not be possible, you will have a much better chance with a prepared plan of action.
6. Focus on the overall picture.
There are going to be times when you may feel like quitting. Remember, that although it feels like the end of the world, life will become normal again. It may be a “new” normal, but with time, it will start to feel familiar. Focus on your goals, and from time to time, you may need to revisit the reasons that you made this decision to divorce to keep you on the right track.
7. Be nice to yourself.
This isn’t the best time in your life. You don’t have to keep everything together. It’s okay to not be okay! “Put the oxygen mask on yourself first!” This will help you to adjust better to new situations, make better decisions, and to help your children through these difficult times.
8. Decide what you want others to know about your situation.
People will ask you about your divorce. Be prepared to answer the never-ending questions about how you are doing. Have an elevator pitch prepared. Remember, it doesn’t need to last more than an elevator ride …20 seconds at most! Give it and move on.
9. Divorce is not a race.
Going into the process knowing that it may take some time will help your frustration level. You want it to end well, and taking your time in making big decisions will help in the long run. The legal system is not fast, and although a great attorney will try to make internal deadlines for their clients, sometimes things just don’t work out as planned. Remember, if an internal deadline is not met, that doesn’t mean that something bad or negative has happened in the divorce case.
10. Find a lawyer that you trust.
In order to make this journey as peaceful as possible, you want someone on your side that you can talk to. You want to be able to get to this person when you have questions. You want to have someone that will explain what is happening at all times. “Not knowing” is a horrible thing, and an attorney that takes time to explain to you the ups and downs of divorce will be invaluable.