Divorce Detox blog by Andra Brosh
One of the major ways we humans differ from animals is that we make plans rather than act purely on instinct. We plan what we are wearing the next day, we plan what we will say on an interview, we plan for weddings, bake sales, board meetings. We create emergency evacuation plans, contingency plans, and plan Bs. We buy burial plots, health insurance, car insurance, life insurance. We practice, fire drills, take CPR classes, send our kids to the Boy Scouts so they are always prepared. We wear seat belts. Better safe than sorry, we say. But though the divorce rate is nearly 50%, who plans for divorce? More and more couples are signing pre-nups before they wed, but what more are they doing to plan in the event that divorce becomes necessary? We don’t plan on having our marriage last less than a lifetime. If we planned for divorce before we even said our “I do”s, it might feel a bit pessimistic, wouldn’t it? It is also realistic. Very. Divorce clearly affects everything in life: relationships with friends, family, community, sex, individual identity, health, finances… you name it. And often when the decision is not ours we feel blindsided and need to quickly regain our wits and scramble to figure out what next. So, it would be prudent to plan a bit ahead of time, just in case.
Next, get it out of your system. If the divorce was not your idea and you have not been the one planning it for some time, OR you are quickly getting out of a toxic environment, you don’t have much time to wallow. So, call a loyal friend, express your emotions, and then you have to deal with the reality of the situation. Don’t rush into agreeing to or signing anything under emotional duress after getting served divorce papers. Figure out your options, create some sort of plan. It helps to close your eyes for a moment and imagine how you’d like this all to turn out in the end and then create the next step to get you closer to that vision. At the same time, figure out how best to deal with unresolved issues and pain so you can get through this with more than a shred of sanity left. Realize you need to continue taking care of the usual: work, kids, family, your health.
Now, determine what your rights are and protect them with representation as needed. Learn the family/divorce laws of your state. Learn things such as divorce waiting periods, required parenting classes for divorces, maximum alimony liabilities, and other general information about the divorce process in your state.
Don’t intentionally antagonize your soon-to-be-ex. This will not bode well for you legally or emotionally. You both are stressed right now. Focus on taking care of yourself and your family. DO NOT use the kids as a weapon, for many obvious reasons.
Rest assured, there is something to look forward to. After the pain and work that goes into getting divorced comes the time to focus on yourself: family ties are strengthened, careers are rebuilt, new relationships are formed, some even report that they never felt more attractive. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Feeling overwhelmed by it all? Don’t know where to begin? Join our new Moving On Divorce Support Group starting November 20th. This is a 8 week program that will help you understand the breakdown in your marriage so you can find peace, establish a productive and civil relationship with your Ex, vent your feelings in a safe and healing environment, restructure and rebuild your new life, manage your outer world while you deal with your inner world, and let go of the past and create a better future. Do this for you.
Adapted from an address to the annual conference of the Arbitrators and Mediators Institute of New Zealand in July 2015. A revised version of a keynote address given to the...By John Sturrock