There's a lot to think about if you are getting a divorce. And there's a lot that you may not know. You may not be at your best, mentally or emotionally. But you need to be able to get a grip, and be clear-headed.
Many important changes are going to take place, and you need to make solid decisions. If you have children, it's essential. This is going to require gathering good advice, doing indepth research, and developing a whole lot of self-control.
Let's look at some of the things you may not know, and what you can do about them.
1) Talk to an Attorney
You've now entered new and unfamiliar territory, where seemingly inconsequential actions and words may have powerful consequences after all.
Consulting a lawyer, whether you use one for the actual divorce or not, can be illuminating, and may help you to protect yourself.
2) Don't Budge From Your Home
If you move out, you may forfeit your right to alimony, or you may end up paying alimony. You may be prevented from going back in until after your property has been divided by the court, which can take longer than one year.
The exception to this is if your partner is violent. Then you must put your and your children's safety first. If you need to leave, pack up and go.
3) If You've Had an Affair ...
Even if you'd like to clear your conscience with your soon-to-be ex-partner, doing so might cause problems with the divorce. It could have an effect on whether you can get alimony, for instance, or it may affect the amount.
4) You May Feel Sad or Depressed
You might think your partner is the biggest jerk who ever lived, but be prepared for the possibility that you could feel more than just relief. You may be in mourning for the failure of your relationship, for the relationship that can never be.
You might lose friends. Things for, and with, your children may be difficult.
You may have mixed feelings about being single again. You're gaining a new life, but in the process you are losing your old one, not only the bad but also some of the good.
5) Everything Will Be Different
When the divorce is final, you will have a new financial situation. Perhaps you will be living on alimony payments and caring for the children. Maybe you'll be going back to work, or be working more than one job due to financial constraints.
You are single again, learning what that means in the present world. You are re-learning what it is to be just yourself once more. Scary, but also exhilarating. There will be confusion, but also adventures ahead.
6) Problems With Your Ex Will Still Crop Up
Your ex-partner won't vanish from the face of the earth. Until the divorce is final there could be necessary contact. And if you have children together, the contact just is not going to stop.
There will be visits, and hearing about your ex from your children. You will still need to show up with your game face on, and handle situations, if only for the sake of the kids.
7) Your Children Will Grieve
You and your ex are not the only ones going through this divorce, if you have children. They did not choose it, and they may or may not want it. They will certainly have strong reactions to what is going on.
Is there regression — sleeping in mom's bed, renewed bedwetting? Are there new behaviors — getting into trouble at school, holding back from activities they once loved? Perhaps you're seeing unusual temper outbursts or tears.
Don't try to get in the way of the relationship between your children and your ex. The exception to this is when your ex is abusive to them in some way.
Think about giving your children the opportunity to see a therapist. They may need a place to talk without worrying about hurting someone else's feelings.
8) Holidays Will Be Different
Gone are the days when your home was the focal point. Now another home must be considered.
Who gets birthdays, or will you divide them in half? Who gets Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years ...? How do you handle family occasions like weddings, christenings, graduations ...?
It's challenging for the kids who must do the running from one house to another. But it's also tough on parents who are missing their kids on those special days.
Best to make some plans to keep busy on those occasions. You may not necessarily enjoy what you are doing. But it's better than staring out the window in your pajamas all day while they are gone.
9) Dating? Don't Even Think About It
You've just unravelled one relationship. Don't hurry into another one.
Being single may be hard to handle. You may find yourself automatically gravitating toward being part of a couple once again.
But remind yourself just how difficult it can be to get out of something that you may not be ready for. And be assured, neither you nor your children are ready for something serious at this juncture.
10) Friendships May Change
You may come out the other end of the divorce with a different set of friends than you had when you went in. Sometimes people will feel they need to choose between the spouses who are splitting, opting for loyalty to one over the other.
Some people may feel that you are the bad guy, and that you are wronging the good guy by divorcing.
They may worry that you will start a rift in their marriages and prefer to keep you at a distance. Sometimes a single friend just doesn't fit in their social circles, and you will be dropped.
This is painful, and creates a sense of loss and perhaps of betrayal. But it may be offset by the appearance of new friends.
Singles who couldn't relate to you before may emerge offering support. People who didn't get too close before because they didn't like your spouse may be friendly, and may be supportive now.
- Visit Jody's website at http://www.ncubator.ca
Reviewed February 25, 2016
by Michele Blacksberg RN
What You Need to Know Before You Divorce. Rosen.com. Retrieved Feb. 24, 2016.
10 things I wish I'd known before getting divorced. Today.com. Retrieved Feb. 24, 2016.