Top 10 divorce do’s and don’ts – a divorce survival guide
1. Don’t call a lawyer because calling a lawyer is declaring war. Lawyers serve an indisputable purpose once you and your spouse have come to a mutually beneficial division of assets and liabilities, have determined a parenting plan, and have established a family mandate that embraces teamwork as opposed to building an impenetrable defensive line; and we all know who to hire when we are ending a strong defence.
2. Take a breath and bite your tongue. Literally … take a breath … bite your tongue and sleep on it. When emotions run high it’s natural to react before considering what we are about to say, or email. Your words can’t be taken back or undone. Walk away and re-visit the moment once you’ve had the opportunity to sleep on it. Your message will likely be the same but your delivery will honour you, not your instant, emotional, irrational reaction.
3. Know that everything will be okay. Life always lands where it’s meant to … and while that may sound trite, where’s the downfall in choosing to see a light at the end of the tunnel. This shift in thinking takes practice and a desire for genuine happiness. There will be bumps along the way, that’s a given. thegooddivorce team helps you prepare for, navigate and repair the bumps along the way.
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4. In any, and all moments, put your kids first. Your kids have two ‘sure things’ or ‘pillars’ in their lives … you and your spouse. It is important to remember that your kids love you both no matter the level of dysfunction. This is an opportunity to show your children, through direct, intentional role modelling, what love looks like. Love can be messy and love can hurt. But it is also love that picks us up off the floor and helps us look ahead. This is a love for self. And if you can’t find this love for self right now, call on the love that you have for your children … you will find yours when you are ready.
5. Slow down. While you may feel like you need to react to the onslaught, absolutely nothing needs to be decided today. Some words to live by for the next six months or so … sleep on it. Well thought out, intentional decisions are what will serve you and your children best. This is quite a challenge when emotions run high. This is where relying on an informed, objective sounding board that has your best interest at heart is a big win. This learned skill of controlling your reactions can be acquired with the right guidance, personal desire, and commitment.
6. Take care of you and do what you need to do for you. Whether you call this self love or self care there’s only one person who will show up – YOU. There’s a high probability that you are thinking about who you used to be, what you used to like … a reminiscing of sorts … this is a time to tap in and listen. What do you need right now? Better sleep? More laughter? A shoulder to cry on? Someone to help you up off the floor? An exercise regime? A healthy outlet? Be sure to listen to your mind, your heart and your body … positive results do not grow from neglect.
7. If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all. Grab a journal or hire a confidant to share the darkness with. Research indicates that writing about a frustrating, painful or difficult to understand moment for just 10 minutes releases an attachment to the story that we are telling ourselves. Research also indicates that verbally expressing these hard to understand moments can deepen our understanding of our story. Regardless of the outlet, understanding your story means that you get to write a new ending that best serves you.
8. You both have rights regardless of your circumstances and 50-50 is a starting place. There are some fuzzy lines when it comes to dividing assets and determining spousal support. And this can be an emotionally charged conversation for both parties. At the end of the day, you are a family, and while your living arrangements will change, you will forever have a history together. While the industry will tell you nothing is “fair” when it comes to divorce … we aim to create outcomes that are mutually beneficial.
9. Talk with your spouse about what a good divorce looks like for each of you. What is a good divorce? For you? For your spouse? For your children? This question deserves some respect and attention. You don’t know where to begin if you don’t know where you are going. This is a time to get a handle on what you are most fearful of and most hopeful for all at the same time. From here you can establish a path that serves you. In our opinion, a good divorce means divorcing together with compassion for self and your spouse. This is a team event. Work together whether you like it or not. Your kids will love you for it.
10. Divorce is one of the most stressful life events a person can experience. It’s a time when emotions run high, and making day to day decisions can be overwhelming, never mind being faced with making some of the biggest financial and parenting decisions of your life. Call thegooddivorce and let us help you make well informed decisions, minimize the impact, and land on your feet.