There is no such thing as a “one size fits all” divorce. Universally though, anyone who has gone through the process can attest to the fact that it is one of the most painful experiences you will encounter in your life. Having been a divorce attorney for over 20 years, here are some thoughts to consider if you have been through divorce already or have decided to take the plunge.
1. Your decision to end your marriage will scare a lot of your friends and family, for a myriad of reasons. The number one reason, believe it or not, is usually jealously-it’s true! Many will be jealous that you had the courage to end a dissatisfying relationship, where they, on the other hand, feel trapped in their own. Additionally, we, creatures of habit, do not like change. Even though your divorce is your change, it impacts those around you and thus creates change for others as well. Your divorce will make many you know uncomfortable.
2. People want to pick a side. It’s just human nature, your friends and family will typically feel the world makes more sense if there is a “right” side and thus, a right party to the divorce and a “wrong” side, or the person responsible for the breakdown of the marriage. In my experience, there is rarely a clear right or wrong when it comes to a break up. What is true is that two people are no longer right for each other and should not stay married for the wrong reasons.
3. You will feel wronged along the way from those that you considered your friends. See your divorce as an excellent opportunity to weed out the people in your life that do not belong there. Divorce will truly show you who the keepers are-no question.
4. Nobody will understand the complex circumstances that led to the breakdown of your marriage. Your spouse’s perception regarding the breakdown will differ wildly from your own; it’s just that complicated!
5. The more successful you are, the more attention your divorce action will get from the general public. Small-minded people often get some kind of misguided satisfaction from other people’s hardships. It falsely makes them feel better about themselves. Insulate yourself and your family, as much as possible, from the nay-sayers. Do everything you can to keep your business private and by all means keep your case out of court. Instead, use private therapists and mediators to settle any disputes, where possible.
6. Make a pact with your spouse to see yourselves still as family going through this difficult, life-changing transition. Have each other’s backs as if you were planning to stay together. This means cutting out all those rubberneckers who are intent on taking a side or using your tragedy as a piece of gossip at a party or anyone else who does not support you and/or your soon-to-be ex. This behavior ultimately hurts not only you and your spouse, but your innocent children as well.