So, you have decided to file for divorce. Here are some tips to make this difficult journey a little easier:
- Be an adult and tell your spouse that you are going to file for divorce:
If you are flying solo with the decision to end your marriage, be up front with your spouse about the decision. Your partner should hear about your decision to file for divorce directly from you and not a third party. How you handle the early rounds of the process may have a big impact on how smoothly your case will go, in general. If you want an amicable divorce, be amicable with your spouse.
After your spouse has had a chance to process your decision to file for divorce, make a plan to tell age-appropriate children about your decision, too. The best way to tell your children is for you and your husband/wife to take a unified position. The two of you should tell your children, together, and let them know how much you love them and that you will still be a family; just a new version of one. Your children should know that the divorce is not their fault.
- Status quo:
If the current status quo in your household is not volatile, try to maintain it for a while and make changes to it, slowly. If you have children, take their feelings into consideration, before all else, and try to gradually introduce them to the new normal. When making decisions during this period, remain child-centric, at all times.
- Listen to your body:
Has your marriage left you exhausted and stressed? Pay attention to this feeling when you need reinforcement that you are making the right decision to file for divorce. Our bodies do not lie if we listen to them! Many of my clients have described feeling much lighter and energetic, once the dust settled and they are able to close this painful chapter in their lives.
- Do not take the bait:
If the decision to divorce is not mutual, your spouse will most likely be angry with your decision to end the marriage. Give him or her time to cool off and accept this new reality. Do not engage an angry spouse in consequential discussions while he or she is unable to think clearly, and try not to take their hurt and anger to heart. Divorce is truly a process. Take a deep breath and a step back, in the beginning. Do not take any negative bait from your wounded spouse. Wait for the reality of the divorce to sink in before you discuss serious issues, such as figuring out a permanent parenting plan or dividing the marital estate with your husband/wife.
- Find inspiration to move forward:
Once you reach the point where you are no longer stressing over the “should I stay, or should I go” debate, and you have made the decision to get divorced, just take one day at a time. Put one foot in front of the other, so to speak, and by all means, find inspiration every day to help you stay on track. For instance, a recent client told me that her sister sent her an inspirational quote that applied to her situation, every day until her divorce was finalized. Some of my favorite quotes that she said got her through some dark days are as follows:
“Don’t be afraid to give up the good, to go for the great.”
“Don’t let your past steal your future.”
“Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.”
“What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.”
“Learn from your history, but don’t live in it.”
“Don’t start your day with the broken pieces of yesterday. Every morning you wake up is the first day of the rest of your life.”
Surround yourself with loving, supportive people and be kind and gentle with yourself.
And remember, the tunnel may seem dark, but there is a beautiful light at the end. You will get there. I promise.