Find support systems outside of your partner. Otherwise one of them will be resentful and might sabotage the process. Humans tend to “shed” during major life transitions. Life’s too short. It's very easy to react when faced with a divorce and the fears that are natural when splitting time with children or dividing finances. and emotions (if your divorce is not conflictual), you can feel as though things are still moving forward while still having room for the roller coaster of emotions you may face. Be aware of your tolerance level for your support. I hope you find all of the following insights helpful during your own divorce preparation! We will always be grateful to Cheryl and Joe for making that possible.". Every step of the way, take into consideration your own well-being and the well-being of your children as well as the impact on your partner. During the divorce process, you’ll need to make hundreds of significant decisions that will affect you and your children for years to come. Most children are highly attuned to their parents. Documents tend to disappear or become inaccessible after a divorce is filed. If you were in court, would you be disrespectful, aggressive, unreasonable, or manipulative with the judge when presenting your wishes? There are always snide words used trying to stir up negative emotions. Hold on to your non-martial assets. Understanding how your soon-to-be ex actually deals with conflict will allow you to better prepare to negotiate because your expectations will be based in reality, not on wishful thinking. We're still the best of friends and as everything has come to pass, I realize more than ever that we are both very independent individuals who tend require a lot of personal space to recharge our batteries. You will want to protect yourself and keep your spouse from being able to clean out any joint accounts you have together. Sticking to the divorce process without constantly blaming the other person will help you to focus on other things that will not bring you down. Remembering how actions and behaviors directly impact children will help maintain respect for each other in this process. And these feelings don't disappear the day you finalize the paperwork. Find someone to emotionally support you – a friend, a therapist – so you can stay connected to the person you want to be even in the face of intense divorce emotions and tough decisions. It’s important to remember that no matter how isolated you may feel, you are not alone. Are the balances on your cards from a one-time expense that you just didn't have the cash on hand for? I see many people either suppress what are healthy and normal, albeit unpleasant, emotions which often lead to depression and anxiety, but conversely I also see people have their emotions get the best of them. There are certain things in life that we can plan for, but as we all know, there are many life events that just happen. Never bad-mouth the other parent in any way. As much as we would like our divorcing partner to be on the same page we are, sometimes that doesn’t happen. Sometimes in the beginning there is more leeway, but as people move on and adjust to impending divorce, expectations around this very topic need to be addressed – proactively. If he cheated, that has nothing to do with what kind of father he is and how often you want the kids seeing him. One day the conflict will be over and you will think of your marriage as something in the past. Consider what you feel is "fair" in divorce. Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and Founder, Hope, Heal and Thrive. How to prepare for a divorce and protect your emotional well being. Having knowledge of your current situation can help protect both parties involved if there is a break-up down the road. If there is a change of address, make sure they know it so that you will continue to receive bills from all joint accounts. Realistic goals place you in a much better position to begin a new life after the divorce. 3. Staying in the house for the children's sake is an emotional decision all parents grapple with. This final step in preparing for divorce may seem silly to some. Despite the fact that we ended our marriage, my ex-husband and I respect one another deeply and it was so important to us that we be able to get through the divorce process in a way that reflected that, and that kept the well-being of our children at the forefront. Don’t make any assumptions and certainly don’t base your decisions on what happened to a friend or family member. can cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. If you want a high quality mediation that is peaceful, cost-effective and results in a fair and thorough agreement while receiving personalized divorce support from a compassionate team of professionals, choose Equitable Mediation. Go on record as wanting a peaceful divorce and use your team to remind you of your primary goal and provide a safe place to vent. Spend time with friends and family. Reach out and surround yourself with a support system. That usually means gathering tax returns (past three years), bank and retirement statements, mortgage statements, and a current credit report, at a minimum. But you cannot afford to “ghost” out of a marriage when you have kids and property to divide. Don’t behave in a manner that is going to cause your divorce to be more financially burdensome. Creator, DIVORCED GIRL SMILING, Huffington Post Divorce Blogger, Features Reporter and "Love Essentially" columnist for Chicago Tribune Media Group. Don’t assume that your divorce case cannot be handled through the mediation or collaborative divorce process because the two of you aren’t amicable and have trust issues. You'll also lose those volume discounts you get when you're married such as the multi-car discount on your auto-insurance or the family share plan for your cell phones. You will especially want a copy of any recent real estate appraisals. While family is there for me, they all live at least 300 miles away, so at times I feel pretty isolated. Lastly, make a huge effort to give each other compliments as often as possible, as this process is so painful, depressing, debilitating, exciting, relieving, and renewing, and everybody deserves respect, dignity and love. It’s okay to admit you’re angry and if you can’t contain it, try focusing on behavior, not name-calling. Find new ways of understanding more compassionately your partner's limitations that led to the divorce, and your limitations as well. Both excessive altruism and selfishness can be mistakes. Consider not doing a divorce, per se, but doing a dissolution of marriage. It’s easy to put all the blame on your spouse, but that’s not fair to either of you. My office handles hundreds of divorces each year. During this process, the family unit is less affected because the parties argue less and work through the settlement together. Not only is this more expensive, they are not getting the best help. My advice to others preparing for divorce would be that overall, in divorce, no one really wins. Many people find these healthy coping strategies helpful for coming to terms with divorce. But if you can work with your spouse and both want to try, do so. "There is nothing we would have done differently when preparing for our divorce - we were very lucky! That said, how does a person "prepare" for a peaceful divorce? Do not hide the fact that you have done this and do not spend the money foolishly. They absolutely need both of you in their lives. 3. If something really, really bad should happen to you between now and the day you become legally divorced, think about who you’d want to have the authority to pull the plug or make life or death decisions on your behalf. If you are terminating your marriage, you need an attorney who will guide you in regard to issues where there is a disagreement and who will tell you honestly what the considerations of the court will be regarding assets, debts, child-issues, support issues and retirement allocation issues. Divorce does not have to be stigmatized as a “failure”. There are many reasons for not leaving the marital home, but there are two important reasons you must consider. Choosing worry, guilt, anger, will contribute to the emotional anxiety that divorce can cause. When I think about divorce, I think about two different parts. While this may not seem like a financial issue, it absolutely is. To help promote hopefulness, healing and clarity, I recommend the book “The Good Karma Divorce”, by Michele Lowrance. It will keep you focused as you navigate the decisions you’ll make and the way you interact with your partner and/or your children. Demonstrate continued open communication between one another as parents. Securities and financial planning offered through LPL Financial, a registered investment advisor. Therapy in addition to other support systems is a bit different because one is contained with a professional clinician, where it allows a clinical perspective and lens to help one process through any feelings of grief, sadness, anxiety or depression. Yes, even when you want to rush through this- take your time. The budget prep [required for the divorce process] is absolutely horrendous and overwhelming, and can easily escalate to shock and blame, so the more attention that can be paid BEFOREHAND to having easily accessible and attentive, well-kept records, the better, faster, and smoother that process will be. You do not need someone whose only reputation is that they are “mean” or that they can make lawsuits interminable. Ask and you may receive. This is a two-step process: Some marital property and assets are obvious. Either way, it is a way to release, validate and purge every and all the things you are feeling. At the same time, try to come up with a few activities that can serve as grounding exercises as you may need something predictable and grounding every day to cope with the ups and downs. As adults, we can manage our emotions and have civility long enough to act as a parental unit, which you will find you will need to do many more times in the interest of your children. Showing respect during this process can alleviate some of the stress and pressure one can feel while transitioning from partnered to single. Know that it is OK to have a frustrating and disappointing morning, but to find yourself belly-laughing at something later that day. If the divorce becomes heated, you may not be able to have access to your things for a while. Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Berkeley, CA. Be prepared to present the divorce to your children from a united front as parents- even if that is not completely accurate. Communicate your decisions effectively. Having a victim mentality gives you a sense of powerlessness. You need to set realistic goals before you commit to pursuing a divorce. The loss of a partner can feel like losing a limb. My three best tips to prepare for a peaceful divorce would be: Whether in mediation, negotiation or litigation, your divorce process isn't the time to "work out" the injustices (real or perceived) of the marriage. And remember that keeping to a routine is vital - structure makes children feel more secure. Think about what you need, make lists, sleep on them, and share them with people to whom you trust. Let me rephrase that as follows: You can’t expect to receive that which you didn’t request. Be realistic about your goals and don’t feel entitled to the same lifestyle. Be sure to make decisions that will guarantee their welfare and well-being as much as possible. One of the most important steps you can take is to choose the right divorce attorney. If you and your spouse are salaried employees, you will need a copy of the most recent pay stubs plus your most recent Income Tax Return. After all, if you have children you have to continue to co-parent and interact with your former spouse. When we enter into a marriage, we anticipate spending the rest of our life with our significant other. This is not avoidance but therapeutic to get through this time period. This way, there are open lines of communication and an understanding of the goals and assets needed to build a future together. 2. Gather all of the relevant financial documentation that you can. Many of these people are now quarantined together in the same household - feeling stuck with their lives trapped in a state of suspended animation. Does your future self want to remember you as bitter, negative and resentful? The experience of a peaceful divorce does not happen by chance or by accident. This means detaching from the other person’s reactions, staying tuned-in to your ideal self, and operating from a place of integrity. The goal is to establish a good credit score, not to run up a bunch of debt. Once “L” and I decided that we wanted to get divorced and then found Joe and Cheryl Dillon to help us divorce without lawyers, things went pretty quickly and smoothly.". Let them know that BOTH of you want this, and that you BOTH still love them. 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