Getting a divorce is something that affects us deeply and does so in almost every part of life. There will always be difficulties to contend with, from finances and the division of property, to custody and visitation, and countless other details. And though it is usually a time for a certain level of grieving and reflection, it can also be a time of hope, where great change leads to a new perspective, a deeper understanding of ourselves, and positive change in the course of our life. No matter the reasons for divorce, we could all use some help and good advice. Let’s look at 7 divorce tips for women to help you navigate this time with greater confidence.
Dive Deep into Your Finances
If you weren’t already staying on top of your income, finances, benefits, debts, retirement accounts, expenses, and all relevant accounts along with your spouse, this is definitely the right time to jump in. Divorce has a way of opening up just about every nook and cranny related to money.
Gaining a deep understanding of all mutual accounts, loans, investments, shared assets like your house and cars, and any other relevant financial information sets you up not only for getting the best possible settlement, but equips you with the knowledge and good habits you need to manage your finances with greater confidence in the future.
You’ll be able to give your attorney exactly the information they need for your case. If it involves a jointly held account or asset and your spouse is refusing to release information, discuss this with your lawyer and they can assist you in gaining access. The best time to get organized and informed about your finances is right now. You’ll set yourself up for a stronger position now and in the years to come.
Treat Your Ex with Respect
This may sound silly, but it’s a big one. It’s pretty easy to lash out and yell, ignore or talk badly about your ex when you’re in the midst of a messy separation. They may have treated you poorly or made your life uniquely difficult. But igniting that fire and spreading rumors or constantly fighting is the wrong move. You will end up looking immature and combative, and make it easier for the courts to side with your spouse, especially if they are remaining calm and treating you with respect.
This is especially important if you have kids together. Children need to see the two of you showing respect toward one another, engaging in healthy conversation, not gossiping (which creates tension for the child between their two parents), and working out your disagreements in a calm, mature manner. This keeps stability in your children’s lives, and models the right kind of love and behavior for them to emulate. As a parent, it’s up to you to establish a healthy mindset and atmosphere for your home.
Give Yourself a Break and a lot of Time
What do we mean by this? Well, many people, men and women alike, underestimate the scope of their separation and healing process. We are complex individuals living layered and complex lives. Our relationships and the thoughts and feelings we developed around them did not grow overnight. Likewise, when these incredibly important relationships dissolve, we shouldn’t expect to heal from this after a few weeks.
Healing involves so many things both internally and externally. Some things happen more quickly. Others take years to fully mend. Don’t be surprised by shifting emotions, sudden flashes of both good and bad memories, and a desire for both greater solitude and increased connection with friends and family.
Don’t spend time blaming yourself or constantly mulling over the what ifs. It is good to understand one’s own mistakes. But it is important you use this knowledge for growth, not for self-loathing.Take time to pursue trusted friends, meaningful time with family, weekend trips, healthy habits in eating and fitness, openness with your emotions and needs, and the help of great counselors and mentors.
Stay Attuned and Connected with Your Kids
As hard as things are for you during divorce, they can sometimes be even more difficult for kids. They experience a lot of confusion and a deep sense of loss, even betrayal. They may blame themselves for your separation and come to believe that they aren’t loved or valued as much as they’d once thought.
Kids can’t see the whole picture. They often only glimpse the fringes of things and don’t know what to make of life when their parents separate. They need constant reassurance, an open mind and listening ear from you, a lack of judgment, your willingness to answer real questions when they have them, a lot of quality time with you and your ex, respectively, and at times, the help of a good counselor.
Focus on keeping a certain level of consistency in their life, like extra-curricular activities, time with friends, family outings, and fun nights at home. So much of their world is changing. They need things that they can hold on to, things and people that give them a sense of stability and continuity. Always show them an abundance of love and openness and continue to encourage them to pursue their relationship with your ex (this of course doesn’t apply in instances of abuse).
Educate Yourself about the Process
Not preparing can cost you. When it becomes clear that divorce is imminent, it’s time to do some detailed research on the divorce process. The more informed you are, the better prepared and equipped you will be for all legal proceedings, and for your own process of healing.
Get a good lawyer. They are your first line of defense. Read a few good books on divorce. Dive into the divorce laws and statutes in your state and what divorce proceedings will look like. Read up on financial and custody implications, shared assets and the division of property, and learn all you can from professionals, trusted friends, and additional reading materials, on helping your kids navigate this time successfully. Go into this fully prepared and ready to engage. Don’t get caught playing catch up. You and your kids deserve the best.
Choose the Right Lawyer
As we’ve stated, a good divorce lawyer is definitely your first line of defense, your primary counsel, and your biggest advocate on this whole journey. Do your research. Read reviews, talk to others about their experiences, and call, video chat or meet with a few different lawyers and get to know them.
You’ll want the best one you can find, one that fights hard for your rights, provides ongoing advice, and genuinely cares. Also, don’t fall into the trap of trying to go without and simply represent yourself. This can be devastating, especially if your ex has representation. While there is a considerable financial investment involved, it pays off several fold down the road. Good family lawyers help protect you legally, get you an equitable divorce settlement, offer helpful advice, and provide you and your family with additional resources to better navigate this difficult time.
Divorce can be Positive in the End
No really, it’s true. Yes, divorce is almost always incredibly difficult at first. We experience so many mixed emotions, regrets, feelings of loss and confusion, and profound internal conflict. But this time of radical change can also be a catalyst for substantial growth and expansion in your life.
The resulting sense of space and freedom allows you to reorganize your life, make a new plan, lay aside bad habits, take the initiative on long-neglected dreams, a new pursuit in art and creativity, business, education, investments, new friends, more travel, and a clearer sense of your own mind, heart, and identity.
Great difficulty can lead to positive change in the end. Give yourself the time you need to mend. But be open to the freedoms, possibilities, and opportunities that this new season brings to the surface.
Divorce is a huge thing, something that runs deep, and takes a great deal of consideration. But it doesn’t have to be devastating. WIth the right planning and preparation, supportive friends, an abundance of love for your children, good counselors and lawyers, and the knowledge that better days lie ahead, it can be a time of deep inner healing, new strength, and personal growth.
Torrone has been helping individuals walk through divorce with confidence and families find health and a sense of wholeness again. We’re ready to walk with you during each step of the journey and get you the strongest resolution possible. Contact us today to learn more.
For quick info about divorce, check out our frequently asked questions below.
Why is preparing for divorce important?
Stepping into divorce unprepared sets you up for failure. It ensures that your ex and their attorney have a better position throughout. It leaves your kids vulnerable to greater confusion and emotional struggle and often causes you to lose money and experience a more difficult healing process.
Preparing sets you up in every area, from personal finances to legal protection, along with motherhood and your plans for the future.
What are some things to keep in mind when getting a divorce?
Always hire a great lawyer, consider professional counseling, organize your finances, pay attention to your kids and their needs, both spoken and unspoken, keep up with healthy patterns and activities, surround yourself with true friends, and allow yourself a lot of time to heal.
How Should I Treat My Ex During Divorce?
This applies equally, not only during divorce but for all the years to come. Treat them with respect. Avoid unnecessary fights. Don’t gossip or talk behind their back, don’t try to drum up things to blame them for or hold over their head and never talk badly about them with your kids. You only set yourself up to look bad during the divorce, establish terrible habits in your children, and make life that much harder on yourself and others.