As Divorce Matters approaches its one year anniversary and my divorce its six year mark, I wanted to use this edition as a reflection. Based on my own experience and that of our clients, it’s a listing of the top things to consider as you move through the process. Given that neither I nor any of our clients get a divorce do over, in some small way I hope this helps those going through a divorce or considering one.
So what have I learned? What have my clients’ experiences taught me?
Have a Divorce Plan. Sounds silly to say, but oftentimes people put more effort into planning a vacation than a divorce. As you go into the process, have an idea of the desired outcome. Think it through and plan ahead. Yes, a lot of it is out of your control, but many aspects are not. Hiring an attorney and letting that person drive your divorce is like surrendering your vacation to a tour operator. It’s your divorce. The attorney is there to provide legal advice and guidance. Remember, when you’re done the attorney moves on to another case, but you own the outcome.
Don’t Go It Alone. When it comes to stressful life events, divorce consistently ranks second only to the death of a spouse or child. Divorce affects you in a multitude of ways, which you can’t comprehend unless you’ve been through it. Reach out to loved ones and support groups for help, if for nothing else than to release. And if need be, get professional help to deal with your emotions and the situation. Figuring out on your own what others have or are experiencing will likely only make the process longer and harder for you.
Educate Yourself. Did you know that there is more than one way to get divorced? Do you know what your divorce is likely to cost and how long it will take? I can tell you that I had no idea and neither do the vast majority of our clients. There are literally hundreds of things you should know about divorce before you start the process. Understanding the process itself, timeframes, options and costs are critical to effectively managing your divorce plan. Remember, divorce will likely be the biggest negotiation of your life. And as in any negotiation, preparation really matters.
Children Front and Center. True, you cannot control your spouse’s actions, but you can control your own. No matter how angry or vengeful you might be, think about your children. When the dust settles, you and your ex-spouse will still be parents to those children. And while you may think that children are clueless to what’s going on, especially little ones, this is almost never the case. Keep the animosity and ill feelings from the children and reassure them of the love you have for them. Depending upon the circumstances, it might not be easy, but it will pay off in spades as the divorce fades.
Forgive Sooner. No matter what happened to cause the divorce or what transpired during the process, put it behind you as soon as you can. While it might take time, the sooner you can accept the outcome and move on the better for everyone. Although many people like to label winners or losers in a divorce, there is no such thing. Feeling yourself the winner or the loser does nothing to change the fact that divorce is a devastating, life altering event in most cases. Move on with your new life.
I would like to wish everyone a wonderful holiday season. And many, many thanks to all of those who reached out during the past year. It’s personally gratifying to know that so many people appreciate the effort that goes into the Divorce Matters column.
About Carlos Blanco
Carlos founded The Big Kaboom www.thebigkaboom.com, which combines people, technology and social elements, in order to support clients throughout their divorce process. He may be contacted by calling 305-908-1171 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.