Divorce is a difficult decision and one that shouldn’t be entered into lightly. The success of your divorce will depend on how well you manage the process.
There are so many questions, decisions and a great deal of uncertainty. As hard as it is to believe, you will get through this and you will have a life after your divorce.
Even if you are on good terms and are working through things amicably you are changing the family dynamics and it won’t be easy. Yes, you read that correctly...you will still be a family. You will always be parents and have a co-parenting relationship.
Research has shown that if parents handle their divorce in an informed and responsible way, the effects on of divorce on children are short-lived and minimized. Here are some tips for not only surviving but having a successful divorce:
1. You need to manage expectations. Yours, your children’s, your family’s and even your ex-partner’s. Everyone in the family will have a different perspective. If you expect others to react and feel the same way you do you are heading for disappointment.
2. Communicate at the beginning of your separation....this is the time you will talk to your ex-partner the most and when the major decisions will be made. As you move forward into your new lives discussing issues becomes more difficult.
3. Plan, plan, plan. Do research, be informed and develop possible solutions. Things will not always go according to your plan but it is important to think things through and have ideas so that a) you have something to discuss, b) you can make informed decisions and c) you are prepared to negotiate.
4. Don’t be fixed in a position. As much as you believe you are doing what is best for everyone, there are other people in the equation with different needs and there is always going to be some negotiation required.
5. Depending on the age of your children, let them have a voice. You are the parents and will make the decisions however being open and honest with them and taking their questions and concerns into consideration will go a long way to helping them with this transition.
6. A house is just a house. Don’t bankrupt yourself trying to keep the marital home for the stability of the children. They need a home, or two in most cases. You can make a home anywhere. In addition to providing lots of love and support; make it an adventure, listen to their concerns, reassure them and your children will adjust.
7. Don’t try to do everything at once. You need time to transition and experience your new reality. Once you know what your end goals are and you can confidently document them, break them down into manageable steps and timelines.
8. You actually can co-parent with someone you don’t like. It will take a lot of work but it’s possible. The key is understanding that co-parenting is your only ongoing relationship with this person and requires your focus.
9. Don’t get lost in hate, bitterness and thoughts of revenge. Get help if you need it. Talk about it to friends, family and/or a professional. Be careful to get the support you need from friends and family without putting them in the middle. If you have children those relationships need to continue for their sake.
10. Try to reduce conflict as much as you can. Conflict will directly impact how expensive your divorce will be and how long it will take.
Respect and be in control of your own decisions. Everyone will want to give you advice during this time. Make sure you can look back in a few years and be happy with how you have handled the situation and yourself. Make decisions based on your comfort level and what makes sense for your goals and family situation.
You will survive! You can do it! Most people are stronger than they give themselves credit for.
Although you may not see the light at the end of the tunnel - there is one. Your divorce is not like anyone else’s. Make your divorce as unique as you are. There is no requirement to do it the way anyone else tells you to.