We don’t need to open this article up by telling you some statistic showing the prevalence of divorce. We both know it isn’t comforting and it doesn’t provide any relief or direction to your personal situation.
Instead, we want to say we feel for you. Even in the most peaceful situation, we know how divorce takes its toll.
That said, there are a few things you can keep in mind that might make the process easier for you.
Keep reading for 15 pieces of divorce advice to help ease the process.
1. Make Sure You Really Want A Divorce
If you’re in a situation of domestic abuse, emotionally or physically, divorce is the only option to ensure you and your family’s safety.
Otherwise, make sure divorce is the right choice for you. Divorce should be something you think will, in the end, better your life.
It shouldn’t be something lightly threatened and pursued, as there’s no turning back once you start the process.
2. Decide How You Want To Divorce
There are several ways a couple can go through the process. The right one depends on the nature of your relationship.
Ask your attorney about the available methods. They should tell you about collaborative divorce, mediation, litigation, and more. Once you decide on what feels right, discuss it with your lawyer and partner.
3. Work To Be Accepting
Regardless if you make the first decision in divorce or not, try to be accepting of the whole process. Being accepting doesn’t mean rejecting or suppressing feelings. Instead, you should try to honor them and not hold onto them.
Recognize that you are in a transitional phase, and like everything else in life, that will pass.
Accept that this is your current reality and look towards a better future. This may mean accepting that you can’t afford the house you once lived in, but in turn, it may mean you will get to have a fresh slate in a new place.
4. Develop An Optimistic, Futuristic Mindset
Research proves that keeping an optimistic mindset positively influences mental and physical health. It also helps you be more successful at whatever you’re trying to do, whether it’s career achievements, athletic endeavors, or personal stuff like processing a divorce.
Try to have a positive approach to your future. Set goals that align with what you want it to look like. This will help keep you optimistic throughout the long divorce process and also allow you to prioritize what you want out of the divorce.
5. If It Helps You, Think Of Divorce As A Business Transaction
This might sound insensitive at first but bear with us.
If you look at your divorce strictly through a personal lens, your emotions may get in the way of making the most practical decisions. Plus, it will affect you in a heavier, more negative way.
Instead, you can try to think of the ordeal as a business transaction. You are the business in question.
A business does what’s best for the business to stay successful and in operation. For the business of your being, this may mean going through a divorce.
This shift in perspective may help de-escalate emotions and allow you to make fair decisions for yourself and your spouse.
6. Try To Act, Not React
Continuing on the example of divorce being a business transaction, consider the difference between action and reaction.
When you’re reacting, you’re not thinking clearly. You’re operating from a “knee-jerk reaction”, so to speak, like when the doctor does that weird, knee hammer reflex test. You can’t help or control what you do in this place.
If you’re acting, on the other hand, you’re thinking and processing options and consequences before proceeding. This is how businesses operate, and this is how you should operate in your divorce.
No matter how things go, try to keep a cool head and think things through before speaking or taking action. This will allow you to then communicate with a solution-based approach because you’re using reason and logic.
Solution-based communication is similar to solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT), which aims to focus on the present and the future rather than the unchangeable past.
This will help you stay focused on what you can change instead of what you can’t.
7. Have Productive Communication
On the same note, it’s important to have productive communication. This includes being solution-based, clear, and concise with what you’re saying.
Even if you feel emotional or heated about something, think about what purpose it would serve to express this to your spouse.
Realistically, expressing your negative feelings and emotions isn’t going to mend the relationship or prevent divorce. So, it might not be productive to communicate those feelings with them.
This will save you time and energy. Plus, if you can keep your communication focused, you won’t have to spend as much time trying to work out the kinks with lawyers.
8. Be Honest
To have productive communication, you have to be honest with yourself and your spouse.
This doesn’t mean sharing how you honestly feel, per se, but instead what you honestly have and need for the divorce to work out for both of you.
To do this, you have to be honest with yourself. Allow yourself to think and feel through the process so that you can identify where you’re coming from.
9. Understand The Legal Aspects
Don’t worry—you don’t need to have a law degree to understand the legal aspects of divorce.
Start by getting a basic foundation about family law through free, online resources (like this article). Then, find a lawyer that fits your needs.
A good attorney should be able to break down the process into simple, understandable steps.
10. Ask Questions
When you run into things you don’t understand, don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Your attorney should be able to help clear things up for you.
11. Have The Paperwork You Need
One of the legal aspects your lawyer will inform you about is paperwork.
Make sure you have copies of all financial things between you and your spouse. Doing this will protect you, in case things get messy between you two.
12. Use Other Professionals For Non-Legal Issues
Don’t make your attorney your therapist. It’s not their job and it will cost you extra money.
Look into therapy for your emotional needs. If you have kids, it might be wise to get them in for a few sessions, too.
13. Don’t Act Out Of Hatred, Frustration, Or Resentment
Like we said earlier, drama and emotional projection won’t help the process—even if it’s coming from a real, legitimate place.
Even if your spouse is a terrible person, divorce won’t be easy for them, either.
Try to refrain from acting negatively towards them. Keep it professional (like a business transaction, remember) and solution-based. This will help you, your spouse, and your kids get through the process with less difficulty.
14. Take Care Of Yourself
The saying goes, “kids first, then yourself.” While this may be true, don’t forget the second part of that: yourself.
No matter what, divorce isn’t easy. Don’t make it harder for yourself by being down or blaming yourself for “failing at marriage”.
In reality, you’re going through a process to get out of something that isn’t working or benefiting you. That’s something to look at optimistically.
15. The Most Important Divorce Advice: Have Confidence In Yourself
Even if you’ve been married your whole life, you can do things on your own.
You can’t do the legal aspects of divorce on your own (you definitely need a lawyer), but you can take care of yourself emotionally and financially.
Have confidence in your ability to satisfy, support, and live on your own. You can do it, with the adjustment of expectations and a little bit of self-care.
Keep Your Head Up
No matter what divorce advice you read, your strength will always come from within.
Try to stay positive and forward-thinking. With that, don’t be afraid to seek help in areas you don’t know much about—like the legal aspects.
Get in touch with us so we can ease the process for you. To continue growing your own resources and understanding, keep reading our blog.
Angela Elliot Frazier is a Family Law Attorney who practices in Greenville, SC. She graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 14 years now. Angela Frazier believes in helping you through one of the most stressful times of your life. Learn more about her experience by clicking here.