10 Things to Consider in a Divorce
Divorce can be a very painful experience, a devastating situation that challenges someone at the deepest levels. Yet, divorce is also a technical and legal undertaking, with many facets and complexities that require attention and detail. Blending the emotional difficulties of divorce with the need to execute the right legal and financial strategies can be daunting for anyone. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most important items to consider during the divorce process.
1. Get an Attorney
First, it’s important to realize that the complexities of divorce are usually far too stringent and broad for the average person to understand, much less execute upon, while trying to live their life and maintain a sense of normalcy. This is why it’s so important to find a family attorney and a team that understands family law so that they can provide the right guidance to help you in your time of need.
One of the most important things to consider in a divorce is that lawyer offices are experts in family law and will be able to help operate a divorce proceeding by anticipating nuances from cases they’ve seen before, as well as understanding historical trials on different issues. Remember, if you’re getting divorced, this is likely your first divorce. For a family law attorney, this might be the 200th or 500th or 1000th divorce they’ve ever handled. Experience counts, and it’s important to be able to lean on the experiences and expertise of others.
2. Get Finances in Order
One of the main stresses involved in divorce is financial uncertainty, which is why it’s crucial to work with a financial planner and divorce law attorney to make sure your financial ducks are in a row. Talk to your local bank or credit union about your situation, and work with an accountant to have a comprehensive understanding of your assets and financial categories.
One of the most important things to consider in a divorce is your children and the impact your children will have on your financial situation. Things like child tax credits can become complicated in a divorce, especially during tax season, which is why it’s important to work with a financial professional or attorney on the matter to gain clarity.
Budgeting expenses for children for things like medical care and dental care (like child braces) can likewise be complicated, which is why it’s important to have your affairs in order during a divorce, especially when children are involved.
Another one of the most important things to consider in a divorce is the logistics involved in moving. If you are the party in the divorce moving to a different location, you need to take into consideration things like packing supplies, moving equipment, moving logistics, and much more. It’s important to have a new location lined up and a stable and smooth moving process to not add any more complications to a complicated situation. One of the most important things to consider in a divorce is the issue of insurance, whether for your home, including home title insurance, general insurance, and so on. If you’re moving to a new location, it’s important to make sure that the home title is correctly updated and that you and the other party are in agreement about ownership and other matters pertaining to home, vehicle, and so on.
A good family attorney will be able to help navigate these complexities and make sure that your ducks are in a row legally and logistically, and you’re free and clear of any complications.
4. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
While divorce can be extremely stressful and complicated, it’s important to remember that you’re still a human being with basic needs and you need to take care of yourself in the aftermath of the most stressful situation you’ll likely ever encounter.
It’s important to get involved with a community of people who care about you, such as a church or group, as divorce can be very isolating and can create loneliness. Rekindle old friendships and build relationships with new people to help keep your mind active and connected to others, and to help prevent you from falling into despair and sadness about something you may not be able to change.
It’s important to stay physically healthy as well and to participate in hobbies and activities that engage your mind and body, as physical health and mental health are more crucial than ever in the time following a divorce.
5. Keep Things Healthy for the Kids
Divorce is hard on everyone involved, and notably on any kids you have from the marriage. One of the most important things to consider in a divorce is that your children will be experiencing deep and complicated emotions, and it’s important to try to create as much normalcy and regularity as you can for them as they transition to living with their parents in separate homes. Once custody is decided, make sure to have as loving and amicable a relationship as possible with your ex-spouse, especially when talking about them with your shared children.
It’s crucially important to fight the temptation to create a “good parent or bad parent” scenario for your children as the confusion that is already inherent in divorce is significantly greater when children aren’t sure which parent is better for them. It’s important for a coparenting situation to be healthy and mutually respectful and for children to still see their mom and dad equally and to love them equally to help them grow and develop in as healthy a way as possible.
6. Creating a Plan
Another one of the most important things to consider in a divorce is to create a plan. For many, divorce is an entirely new world full of questions and unclarity. It’s important to work with a divorce attorney and someone who has been through divorce before, if you’re able, to help create a game plan going forward. This includes things like finances and budgeting, housing, any financial obligations that may have arisen because of the divorce, lifestyle changes, a schedule for children, planning events for your children, and so on. This also includes deeper personal questions and long-term-visions, like whether you want to remarry, whether you want to have children with a future spouse, how far you live from your ex spouse while your children are still under the age of 18, and much more.
Writing out a plan and building a vision for yourself, especially with the help of a qualified professional and someone who cares about you who has been down a similar road, is crucial in helping to mitigate stress and create a vision and path forward to give you clarity about how to maintain a fulfilling life.
7. Seek Counseling if Needed
Another one of the most important things to consider in a divorce is the potential for deep emotional burden that can occur long afterward. It’s important to remember that you shouldn’t walk a journey like divorce alone, especially with so many qualified counselors and therapists and mental health professionals who are specially equipped to help you navigate your situation. Don’t be shy or hesitant to seek help and to get advice if you’re not sure how to move forward; trained professionals are deeply aware of the kind of situation you’re in and have significant tools and resources to help you manage your experiences.
A trained therapist or counselor will be able to work with you through the fears, worries, and burdens you face, and help you look at these things in a new and fresh way, with care and objectivity. Their main goal is to help you feel differently and feel better as you navigate life after divorce, and not be judgmental or condescending. Many people have experienced healing and breakthroughs through deep counseling and therapeutic work, and this can be the case for you as well. Without your mental health, life can become overwhelming and too stressful to manage. This is why therapy is one of the most important things to consider in a divorce.
8. Balance Your Single Life and Dating Life
Divorce can be extremely painful, which is why it’s important to heal from it in the right ways, and not use unhealthy tactics to try to create healing.
It’s common for people to jump into a new relationship right away after divorce as a way to heal and feel better. This is often called rebounding, and can be very dangerous. One of the most important things to consider in a divorce is that another human being will never be able to fully replace the human being you were with, and it’s unfair to try to connect with another human being with the expectation that they’ll be able to replace all or even some of the characteristics from your former spouse.
It’s not healthy for anyone if you look to another human being to use or to feel validation after the brokenness of a divorce, as this will eventually be felt by them and create significant strain and pain in your new relationship.
Instead, after a divorce, it’s best to take some time, at least a period of six months, to reflect and heal. If you have been married for 20 or 30 years and become divorced, this is a significant timeframe that requires deep reflection to help evaluate and process. Fight the temptation to jump into a new relationship quickly, but don’t neglect building general relationships with people either as you maintain human connection in general.
Once you begin dating again, if you choose to, take things slow. You’ve likely not dated anybody for years or maybe even decades, so there’s no harm in taking things slow and learning more about yourself and another person. Be honest and upfront about your experiences and what’s going on in your life, because if you become attached to the person they’ll find out anyway. Be honest and clear and don’t try to become something you’re not. Simply enjoy the process of getting to know someone in a new and romantic way.
9. Enjoy Yourself
We can’t always change our circumstances, but we can always change our perspectives on them, which is an incredibly powerful thing. While divorce can be excruciatingly painful, and not seeing your children as much as you want to and likewise be devastating, it’s important to remember that you may now have more freedom and time to yourself than you would have ever had if you were still married. Use this to your advantage and enjoy your newfound freedom in ways that are healthy and beneficial. Take solo trips, spend more time with friends, go out and experience new cultures and new people, and do some of the things you may have always wanted to do but we’re never able to.
10. Forgive Yourself
Whether the divorce occurred because of infidelity, or whether it was something more complicated between you and your spouse, it’s important to be very careful about guilt. Guilt is an incredibly powerful emotion that can become all consuming and destructive, and it’s important to learn to forgive yourself and to be honest with yourself about what the experience was, your role in it, and what you can learn from it moving forward.
It’s crucially important to not create false guilt, or guilt as a result of assumptions that may not be true. This is important because while it’s very easy for us to create or imagine scenarios that aren’t real, the emotions we generate from imagining fake scenarios or a false narrative about how things were are very real emotions, and real emotions can be destructive.
In conclusion, remember that you are not alone, that there are people who stand ready to help you, and that there is a new path, a better way forward for you after divorce, no matter how painful the situation is. Work closely with attorneys and therapists, as well as friends or family who can relate to your situation, and try to keep as level of mind as possible, knowing that others have been where you are and that you can get through the situation. Be kind to yourself!