Getting a divorce is excruciating painful. I am not an attorney nor do I play one on television, as disclaimers these days often point out, so this article will not be offering legal advice. I often do not speak about the ending of a marriage because I do believe that couples who want to resolve their marital problem can with the right kind of help. However, if one or both partners are unwilling to get the necessary help divorce may be the only recourse. Get counseling from someone with some expertise in attachment theory. Realistically though you can’t do it alone so if this is the only option I hope you take the following advice.
I do encourage you, of course, to seek out the best expert help available to you in that area, to protect yourself financially when contemplating or getting a divorce. We have all heard, or possibly already experienced, the bad decisions that can be made in a divorce settlement. Common mistakes,such as forgetting to change the beneficiary of your will or insurance policies following divorce,will leave your ex-spouse entitled to more of your assets down the road. Others have been known to let their ex-spouse have 100% custody of the children; a short-sighted agreement that limits contact with their offspring and the right to be involved in future decisions regarding their lives. Again, this kind of assistance is the reason you need a good lawyer, and should take your time finding one you feel you can trust to represent your situation. That said, it is also important to not allow anyone – especially yourself – to rush you through the process. Going through a divorce is likely one of the most painful things that you will face in your life. Ending a relationship can tear you up emotionally and you may find yourself rotating through cycles of pain, anger and hurt, physically and emotionally. It may be tempting to make snap decisions, hurrying through the divorce procedure – anything to make the pain go away. People involved in divorce proceedings may agree to almost anything in order to have the ordeal over with. It is a time when you are emotionally vulnerable, and might do all that you can to protect yourself from further heartache.
Let me advise you that the single most important thing you can do at this time, as hard as it may seem, is to step back and wait a bit before making any final decisions affecting the rest of your life. Focus on distance from your ex; not just miles but emotional distance. The less you have to talk with your ex, the easier it will be on you. Remember too, this is not the time to walk down memory lane. Avoid looking at pictures, watching videos or listening to music that reminds you of your former partner. It will only make your divorce harder to get through. Each of you will almost certainly have hired an attorney to represent your interests, so let them deal with all the communication that is necessary.Divorce proceedings have the potential to turn nasty, and you should save yourself the pain of hammering out the details. Often one spouse might hire a combative lawyer to tryto punish their soon-to-be former partner, but this is almost always a bad idea. Only with rare exception will a court or judge punish anyone for being a lousy spouse. Instead of benefiting from a fight, it will only cost you more money, as your attorney will be billing you more hours. Higher divorce costs mean there will be fewer assets and cash left for you and your family. Again, try to take the emotion out of your divorce and treat your case as a business arrangement.
The decisions you make or agree to in your divorce settlement will affect you for years to come, especially if you have children to consider. Keeping your distance from your ex isalso important if you are living apart, and voluntarily coordinating visits with yourchildren. Avoid meeting your ex at this time by arranging for someone you trust, a close friend or family member, to drop off and pick up your children after visits with their other parent. Let friends and family not only help with child exchange, but provide you with emotional support throughout your divorce. Those you love can serve valuable roles in helping you deal with your emotions and think through the decisions you will be making. In working with my clients who are processing their way through a divorce, I encourage them to get in touch with their feelings; work to separate from the pain, and use their brain more, instead of their heart, for decisions. I ask them to imagine their lives five to ten years down the road, where they see themselves and how they want to be living. I remind them that in order to avoid making mistakes they will have to live with later, it is wise to not let themselves – or others – rush them into making quick decisions. Think through all aspects of the divorce process. The pain and suffering they may be experiencing as they separate themselves from their current lifestyle is only temporary. Time does heal all wounds. You will survive your divorce and move on. The steps youare now contemplating should not be taken lightly or quickly, as your future emotional,spiritual and physical well-being depend on the outcome. Choose the high road whenever possible, and remember the best revenge is to live well after the divorce is over.