- Do What’s Best for Your Children
- Choose Mediation over Litigation
- Control Your Emotions
Due to the pressure and severity of the events over the last two years, marriages have been experiencing a higher level of stress than before. Loss of incomes, inescapable quarantines, and the constant changing of public health mandates and opinions have been some of the stated reasons for increased tension in marital relationships.
In September 2020 the IFS (Institute for Family Studies) published an article about a study conducted on men and women ages 18-55, and 34% of them reported an increase in stress in their marital relationship, and some of these marriages end in divorce.
Whether it’s amicable, one-sided, or comes by complete surprise, divorce is a stressful process to acknowledge and go through, especially if you are a mom. Stress elevates emotions, and it’s easy for anger, resentment, and grief to quickly take over your actions during your divorce. This leads to constant arguments, children used as weapons against the other parent, huge monetary losses, and drawn-out proceedings to come to decisions.
These will not only effectively waste your time, but they will also waste your money.
10 Tips for a Healthy Divorce
When both parties are amicable, it makes for a much easier, healthier, and low-cost process. We have compiled a list of things you can do to help you stay as amiable as possible during your divorce, and work towards a peaceful resolution.
Know What You Want
There have been plenty of divorce arguments seeded with anger and the need for revenge. It makes it very hard to decide what you really NEED out of your divorce. To keep things as amicable as possible, you must sit down and think of exactly what you want and need, and also what you are willing to give up. If you want something, but your soon-to-be ex-spouse needs it, then it’s necessary to compromise.
Not knowing what you need and what is negotiable will leave you feeling unable to move forward. It could rob you of your retirement, your children, or other things that may be vital to your life. A relationship expert and psychologist, Dr. Carissa Coulston, wrote an article for Divorced Moms and stated that “Before you embark on the divorce process, think carefully about what you actually really want out of it. Be clear about what you want and, more importantly, what you need.” She goes on to explain that this is very important, because “Too many couples blunder through the process picking fights with each other over little things like who gets to keep the expensive TV that was only bought a few months ago instead of focusing on what’s really important,”. Remaining as cordial and professional as possible will allow you the ability to see what you truly need out of your divorce. It’s better to have college tuition for your kids than it is to get the tv only he used just to spite him.
What’s Best for Your Children
Allowing your emotions to muddy the waters of your divorce does not only affect you and your spouse. It also affects your children, and how they perceive both of their parents. Staying cordial and respectful will allow them to see that there can be a decent relationship between the two of you. Children tend to take on many of their parents’ problems during their divorce. If they see you and your spouse yelling at each other they will take it upon themselves to make sure you two are never around one another. Don’t put that kind of stress and responsibility on your children.
Even if your spouse does not reciprocate the same calm energy, you show them, your children will still see it, and that is important for their mental health, and yours. We have seen many times how a child’s mental and emotional health has been compromised over the feuding of their parents in a divorce.
The World Psychiatry Journal states that these are all common in children with separated or divorced parents:
- Academic problems
- Disruptive behavior
- Sense of instability
Being respectful and peaceful in your divorce proceedings will teach your children the power of respect and cooperation, along with feeling supported by both parents.
Mediation Over Litigation
Litigation is not a required process in divorce, and neither is a court hearing with judges. The most cordial way to proceed with your divorce is usually through mediation. Mediation requires a neutral third party to be witness to and conduct beneficial discussions with your spouse to come to an agreement or resolution on certain issues.
Mediation is beneficial for many reasons including:
- Conversations remain confidential
- More time and ability to discuss parameters of custody
- Able to proceed on your time instead of having to set court dates
- Typically spend less money on lawyers and third parties than on court fees and costs
- Ability to mutually agree or compromise on things instead of having them “court-ordered”
Talk To A Therapist
We’ve seen it time and again where a mother comes in to discuss how she wants to proceed with her divorce and then spends most of her time venting about her spouse because she is filled with anger and resentment towards them. This not only wastes her time and money but doesn’t give us enough information to do our job properly. Talking to a therapist gives you a space where you can freely talk about all the things that bother you about your spouse. The time you set aside and pay for with your lawyer can get expensive very quickly if you use it all to talk about your emotions.
Divorce is mentally and physically exhausting and can take a toll on you. Many people do not even realize these effects. Talking to a therapist will help clear your mind, and a clear and healthy person both mentally and emotionally will make better decisions for themselves.
Don’t DIY Your Divorce
The back porch you’ve always wanted is a perfect DIY project, but your divorce is not. Divorce law can be complicated for many people, and when you take that into your own hands without properly educating yourself, you are setting both you and your spouse up for disaster.
Each state has its own set of rules to follow for a divorce, and the ones found online are often incomplete or inaccurate information. Attempting to use an online form of divorce without properly educating yourself on the rules and regulations in your state can result in your divorce agreement being deemed invalid. And then you have to start all over again.
With assets and children, the process can become even more complicated, and emotionally charged. When you decide to not hire an attorney, it’s hard to know exactly what to do and when the right time to do it is. Emotions get high and it seems like the fighting will never end. A good divorce lawyer will hold your hand and make sure you don’t feel threatened in any way. This tends to de-escalate situations because neither party is in a “fight” mode. Decisions are made quicker, and the endings tend to be better for both parties.
It also is very costly to hire a lawyer after you’ve already begun or tried to complete the process yourself. You have to pay for time to bring them up to speed, triage the case, and get you back in a good position. It’s cheaper to just hire good counsel, to begin with.
Keep It Brief When Telling People About Your Divorce
When most people are informed that someone is getting divorced there is a 10-minute follow-up conversation that’s usually filled with gossip or trash talk. Don’t be this person. When informing people of your divorce keep it clear, simple, and as emotionless as possible. Don’t feel the need to give an in-depth reason as to why you are getting divorced. This will only allow other people’s opinions to affect your emotions and could possibly affect the way you perceive your spouse or the way you act during proceedings.
People also love to give unsolicited legal advice based on their experiences or things they have heard before. This can create a big mess if you choose to follow their advice. Loved ones are here to support you through your divorce, and lawyers are here to give you legal advice on your divorce. By giving as little information as possible, you are cutting off people’s ability to let their opinions affect your emotional wellness and choices during your divorce.
Learn As Much About the Divorce Process As Possible
Absorbing as much information about the divorce process and guidelines in your state can have a great impact on keeping your divorce peaceful. When you are informed of the process there are rarely any surprises. This helps keep emotions level-headed10-minute because surprises do tend to get the adrenaline pumping and the emotions high.
Knowing the process will also allow you to prepare yourself for what’s coming next. This way you have time to deal with any emotions you may feel about upcoming events.
Set Aside Your Feelings of Anger, Resentment, and Hurt
One of the only ways to maintain a healthy divorce is to separate your emotions from the divorce procedure itself. It is important to avoid shifting the blame to each other, as this will only create arguments and heated emotions. Your divorce is not a game that is “won” or “lost” so you don’t have to keep score or treat it like a game.
It’s normal to feel hurt or angry or even the need for revenge while going through your divorce. We recommend talking these feelings out with a counselor or therapist to ensure your mind is clear and your emotions are separate from the legal process of your divorce.
During your divorce, the decisions you make will not only impact the immediate future but your long-term future as well. It is imperative to make sure that with each decision you make, you are thinking of how it can and will impact your life in the long term vs the short term. You may want to spend all of your savings to get full custody of your children, but then you don’t have funds to hire a lawyer to mitigate the dispersion of your 401K and you lose your retirement. Another example is Short-sighted actions can be detrimental to your future.
There are loans to help your children through college, but there are no loans to replace your 401K or pay for assisted living when you are older. Making short-term decisions based on harsh emotions during your divorce will also result in financial burdens that will eventually have to be passed onto your children. Most parents prioritize their children and their children’s futures without realizing that their decisions in the middle of their divorce will greatly impact their future.
Hire A Reputable Divorce Lawyer
Throughout your divorce, your lawyer will be your spokesperson, negotiator, and confidant. It’s imperative that you take the time to find a lawyer who will accurately and adequately convey your needs during your divorce.
Hiring the overly aggressive “lawdog” lawyers may be detrimental to your case as they often set the wrong tone, interfere with the settlement, and drive up the cost of your legal fees.
A team of experienced divorce attorneys will understand that you have unique needs and your own set of requirements for your divorce. It is their job to achieve those goals while providing compassion, expert consultation, and a peaceful resolution in the most civil and efficient method possible.