If this is you, congratulations. (Well, sort of). The hardest part of divorce is making a decision to get a divorce in the first place. It’s not like you just wake up one day, say, “I want a divorce,” and then you’re off to the races. Many people (more than you may think) take years – sometimes decades – to get a divorce. There are lots of reasons for that (mostly fear). You can think about divorce forever, but what do you do when you’ve made a real decision to do it? Here are some suggestions.
- Get. A. Therapist. Stat. If you have one already, bravo! If not, get one right now. You will need someone neutral and objective to talk to about things – and emotions – that are happening as you begin this trajectory. Don’t lean on your friends, your family, your new girlfriend (or boyfriend), and certainly not your lawyer. (They’re too expensive for that). Largely because they are not neutral. You don’t need someone else who’s involved in the fray, even if tangentially, imposing their opinions and values on your situation. Your divorce is your divorce. Keep it that way.
- Consult with a divorce lawyer. Although only a small part of a divorce is actually a legal transaction, you should know some of the legal stuff early on. For instance, is there any reason why you might need to file a Complaint right away? In most cases, we recommend not doing that, but there are some circumstances that require it to protect your interests. Also, a question that comes up a lot, is what do we do with the finances/kids/house (fill in the blank here) while we are working on a settlement? An attorney can fill you in on all of that and offer some guidance.
- Tell your spouse. Yeah, sounds kind of obvious, right? But did you actually tell your spouse, “I want a divorce,” and actually use the “D” word? Because if not, they might not really get it. Did you say, “This isn’t working for me anymore.” Or, “I’m not happy in this marriage.” Or, “I’m moving to the basement.” If you didn’t say, “I want a divorce,” then your spouse might not actually know that that’s what, “I’m not happy anymore,” and moving into the basement really means. You owe it to them and to yourself to be direct, clear and unambiguous. Say the words. If you can’t, then maybe you’re not really ready either.
- Tell your kids. You urge might be to shield your kids from the divorce by not telling them, but kids know when something’s up. They will be more upset if and when they find out you’ve been lying to them. It’s better to keep them informed. They don’t need to know the sordid details but this is an event that affects the entire family, including them. Make them feel included so they also feel like they have some control too. They just need reassurance that they are going to be safe in all of this. I highly recommend talking to a therapist who can guide you about exactly how to have the conversation with your kids based upon their age and development.
When you’re ready for #2 above, call us or schedule a Client Vision Meeting right here. We can help guide you in your first steps.
You deserve to be happy and have the life you want.