Our family court system is designed to resolve legal disputes couples have during their divorce. Most courts manage to do that remarkably well. However, divorce involves many different issues and your behavior before, during, and after your divorce will determine how smoothly you will transition during your divorce and recover afterward.
You have an attorney, you have a system set up to protect you, and you have the responsibility of making sure you do nothing to increase conflict during your divorce or after.
11 Things to Keep in Mind During Your Divorce and After
- Your children's feelings. Or allow yourself to believe that your children don’t need you in their lives. Don’t ever get to the point that seeing your children is more painful than not seeing them. If you are a non-custodial parent and are dealing with such pain then suck it up. The long-term consequences and negative impact of not having their parent in their lives outweighs the emotional pain you feel. Never refuse to visit and spend time with your children.
- The family court system is not meant to be a battleground to feud with an ex. There are adversarial attorneys who will take your last dime and help you use the family court system abuse your ex. The need for revenge can be costly and the only one to pay, in the end will be you. You don't like the idea of paying child support? Do your children a favor and pay, save them the heartache of a custody battle if your only reason is to skip out on giving your ex child support. Your husband cheated and left you for another woman? Trying to complicate the divorce process to make him pay only costs you both. Leave his retribution to karma, it will one day get him!
- You must negotiate or mediate a divorce settlement. Negotiation and mediation are about settling the business end of the marriage. Put your emotions aside, take care of the business that needs to be taken care of and then deal with your emotions separately. A refusal to be reasonable during divorce settlement negotiates will land you in divorce court. When that happens, money starts going out to attorneys and you end up with far less to negotiate over. Do yourself a favor, save your money and be reasonable during negotiations.
- Communicate with your ex. Unless the relationship is abusive if you have children together, you should always be willing to communicate in a civil and respectful manner with your ex. An ex-spouse is not someone to be thrown away as if she/he is nothing more than trash stuck to the bottom of your shoe. If your ex reaches out to you via a phone call, email or in person with a need to discuss an issue pertaining to your divorce and marriage respond with common human decency. To not do so lacks character.
- Avoid assigning blame. Blame or causing anyone else to feel shame just because you are experiencing a negative feeling is unacceptable. Divorce hurts, it hurts all involved. Be as conscientious to the feelings of others as you are to your own feelings. To think you have a monopoly on hurt feelings that you are the only victim of your divorce and have the right to turn your back on others due to that is a narcissistic trait. Do whatever you need to do to keep your emotional pain from turning you into a raging narcissist.
- Don't be afraid to hear the truth. People take sides and at times tell us what they think we want to hear. Get outside, objective opinions on how you are handling the legal and emotional aspects of your divorce. Once you’ve gotten those opinions don’t disregard them just because they are not what you want to hear.
- Don't pretend that you are blameless in your marital problems if you had mutual disagreements. It takes two to build a relationship and it takes two to destroy one. Don’t tell yourself half-baked stories about who you did everything you could do. Get real with yourself about what happened. Getting real will keep you from getting stuck in a never ending game of blame.
- Don't make assumptions. Don’t assume your attorney has you covered legally. Don’t assume the judge is going to rule in your favor. Don’t assume your ex is angry and out to destroy you. Know the facts and base your actions on them. It might just keep you from making an ass out of yourself.
- Set realistic expectations. You may expect your ex to be civil and respectful. You may expect your attorney to do his/her job. You may expect your ex to follow the court ordered divorce decree. We don’t always get what we expect so the best thing to do is not expect anything and be willing to deal with what you get. In other words if you have no expectations you can’t be let down.
- Don't let your emotions take over. If your spouse has left and filed for divorce it is time for you to take action. Don’t sit and cry in your beer hoping they will come back. Get yourself an attorney and do what you need to do to protect yourself legally. There will be plenty of time for crying in your beer later. Plus, if your spouse changes his/her mind they are going to come back no matter what actions you take. If they don’t return at least you will have protected yourself and will, more than likely have money to buy all that beer you will be crying in.
- Never pass up the opportunity to forgive. An unforgiving heart is the biggest obstacle to moving passed divorce and onto a rich and fulfilling life. If you can’t forgive you will never be able to do anything but make do and suffer the consequences. I’ve written articles on what a person should do if they are going through a divorce. I’ve given information on how to protect your legal interest, how to cope with divorce and how to move onto a new life and new relationship after a divorce.
If you can keep your wits about the topics above, you should have a smooth split. It won't be painless but you will find solace in having some guidelines on how to think and act.