divorce in the family can potentially change the atmosphere and the dynamics of familial relationships. Sometimes, a divorce can be very effective in changing a person’s entire personality and outlook. However, if you are experiencing a divorce in your family, you should not let it shatter your inner strength and general wellbeing. Here are some tips on how to get through a divorce.
First, here are some quick dos and don’ts regarding getting through a divorce:
- Do not try to go through a divorce alone, please ask for help.
- Do not suppress what you think and feel concerning the divorce.
- Do not count on others around you to tell you what you need or what to do.
- Do not ignore your problems and expect them to go away.
- Do not pretend that you are fine if you are not.
- Do not be upset with yourself for your thoughts and emotions.
- Please ask for help and allow people to help you.
- Talk about your grief and emotions with others.
- Get as much information as you can about the divorce process, both legally and emotionally.
- Face each obstacle or challenge in your life as they arise when you are dealing with a divorce.
- Allow yourself to think and feel whatever comes without severely judging yourself.
- Be accepting of your new normal and your new life.
- Be optimistic and trust that everything in your life will work out the way they need to.
- Be willing to make mistakes without judging yourself harshly.
Next, here is a detailed breakdown of what you may need to do to get through a divorce financially and also if you have children that have to deal with a divorce:
How to Get Through a Divorce Financially
Close your joint accounts. Open separate accounts.
Make a clean financial break from your spouse and close joint accounts and open accounts in your name only.
Update important life documents.
Update documents concerning topics like estate planning, financial planning, and power of attorney so that they reflect the new people who will be handling these things for you in the future.
Make health insurance a priority.
In a divorce, health insurance coverage can be one of the trickier issues to navigate. You may or may not wind up having to provide your own health insurance, while your children will probably be taken care of as part of the settlement.
Think about doing a self-guided financial audit.
Once you have your settlement in place and you know how assets will be split, you need to come up with a short- and a long-term financial plan and related goals. Start by creating a monthly budget.
Build up your emergency fund.
It is unavoidable that our finances are going to take a beating in a divorce. So, you should take a portion of whatever assets you have after divorce and sock them away for those rainy days that are sure to come.
Educate yourself on financial matters.
Some spouses are caught completely unaware in a divorce because their spouse handled all the financial matters for the family. So, if you’ve got gaps in your financial IQ, make it a mission to get savvy in a hurry, by asking questions and even relying on professionals.
Pull your credit report.
The quickest way to get a snapshot of how the world sees your finances is to get copies of your credit reports, and review them for inaccuracies. For instance, make sure that you are taking steps to close joint accounts, considering closing out old accounts, and basically cleaning up your credit report which will become even more important to you on your own as you apply for a mortgage or a car loan, try to land an apartment, and in some cases, a job.
How to Get Through Divorce with Children
Breaking the news.
There’s no easy way to do it, and if your children are a bit older, they’ll already have an inkling about what’s happening. So, if possible, try to deliver the news when both of you can do so. In addition, do it in a straightforward manner and don’t make it a long and drawn out affair.
Expect a wide range of reactions from fear, to anger, denial and self-blame. Let your children know that even though things are changing that both parents still love them. Reassure them that what is happening is not their fault.
Don’t put your kids in the middle.
Keep your problems with your spouse private to as much of a degree as possible. Answer questions and assuage fears, but don’t make children an extension of your point of view or your goals in a divorce.
Kids will have a wide range of emotional reactions to their parent’s getting a divorce. They will have a million questions, too. Just like you, sometimes kids just need to unload. Be a good listener. Don’t try to solve all their problems by making promises you can’t keep. Until things work themselves out, sometimes listening is enough.
Like adults, children are best reassured when there is a consistency about their lives, especially in the midst of divorce. Keeping routines in place is vital to easing emotional fears. The more you can keep parts of their lives the same, the easier it will be in the long run. Of course, some things will inevitably change, and you’ll need to take extra time to allow for those new routines to take hold. Also, children generally have a great capacity to adapt, so don’t overwhelm them if you can help it.
No fighting in front of the kids.
Please keep your arguments and fights for a more private time, since few things can cause more emotional damage than two parents who escalate into an all-out battle in front of their children. This is because screaming, violence, or arguing will put your kids on a fast track to depression, worry, anger and withdrawal.
Watch for signs of stress.
While children may hide their feelings in front of mom and dad, they may lash out in other situations. Therefore, be sure to inform your child’s school about what’s going on at home, talk to the parents of their friends, and perhaps seek guidance or counseling through your place of worship or after school daycare.
A child who is under stress will lash out, show heightened emotional outbursts, become sullen, start to do poorly in school, and if the child is older, they may turn to mind numbing solutions such as drugs or alcohol.
Don’t lie or sugarcoat the situation.
As tough as the questions may be, do your best to explain things honestly. Don’t paint an unrealistic picture of what’s to come or you will create a long-term resentment that will drive a wedge between you and your child. Also, be comfortable with telling them that you don’t have all of the answers, and be honest, even if your gut tells you not to. Finally, make sure you don’t vent, criticize, or point fingers.
If the situation warrants, get help.
Just like you can’t go it alone in a divorce, neither can your kids, so if you need to do it, get them some professional help, like a family therapist or counselor.
Keep the messages age appropriate.
You don’t need to share the same kinds of information or level of detail about a divorce with a 5-year-old as you would with a 14-year-old, so think before you speak.
Always engage in peaceful handoffs.
Do not engage in any kind of heated exchange with your spouse during the exchange of custody or visitation under any circumstances. Save disagreements for texts, emails or phone calls at a later date, but be civil and set an example in front of children in order to reassure them.
Be wise in how you welcome your children home.
It would not be appropriate to pry too much about time that is supposed to be private between the other parties. Just ask a few questions, provide a warm and welcome hug and conversation, and move on.
Next, here are some tips regarding taking care of your mental state:
Cooperation and Communication
When you are going through a divorce, negative emotions will be running high on both sides, which can make the process of divorce very difficult. Therefore, according to the American Psychological Association, it is important to keep the lines of communication open. If you are not able to communicate successfully with your ex on your own, you should enlist the aid of a mediator to help you divide your assets, arrange custody and visitation schedules, and other aspects of ending the relationship.
You must use self-care to help you get through divorce, because if you do not manage your stress level, it could affect other aspects of your life, such as career and children.
Psychotherapy or talk therapy can often help you get through a divorce and begin the process of healing and moving on. A psychologist can help you see things through a different lens. They can also give you coping skills and help you work through the gambit of emotions that you are feeling.
If you are unable to get the help you need to get over divorce locally for whatever reason, there is still help available for you. ReGain is a great resource for online counseling and therapy to help you get over divorce on your own time and schedule.
Here are some other things to consider while going through a divorce:
If you are having a tough time processing a divorce, a therapist can help you work through it. Image courtesy of Lawyer Monthly.
Stop Blaming Yourself (Or Your Ex)
Don’t wallow in guilt or shift the blame to your ex because that will most likely delay the ultimate goal of moving on. While it’s easier said than done, realizing that the marriage is over (for a good reason) is crucial to kick-start the healing process.
Indulge in a Little “You” Time
You’ve spent most of your days focusing on custody arrangements and court costs–how about taking some time to focus on you. For example, eat at the new Thai place your ex refused to try, or start writing the blog you swore you’d start a year ago. Also, keeping busy may lead to a happier state of mind.
Now that you know how to get through a divorce, you can face the process of divorce with more confidence and courage.