Your lawyer has the legal strategies on how to file for divorce. These tips for preparing yourself for a divorce will give you the emotional strength you need to face what lies ahead. Filing for divorce will be more painful and expensive than you think – but you will bounce back.
If your ex-husband is bad-mouthing you and portraying you in a bad light, read Divorce Poison: How to Protect Your Family from Bad-mouthing and Brainwashing. Dr. Richard Warshak offers powerful strategies to preserve and rebuild loving relationships with your children. He also provides practical advice from legal and mental-health professionals, which will help you protect your children – and he teaches divorcing couples how to distinguish different types of criticism, how and why parents manipulate their children, how to detect these maneuvers, and how these practices damage children. Most importantly, you’ll discover powerful strategies to preserve and rebuild loving relationships with your children.
Preparing yourself emotionally for ordeal of divorce is the best way to gain strength and courage – and make divorce less painful. Ignorance is NOT bliss when you’re filing for divorce. Your power comes from information, knowledge, and spiritual connection. Here are the most important things you need to know about filing for divorce, so you can start preparing yourself.
Preparing Yourself Emotionally to File for Divorce
Often, the problem with preparing to file for divorce is that you don’t have a great deal of time. My friend Michelle was blindsided when her husband left her and their four kids, and she had almost no time to learn about preparing herself for the legal and emotional complexities of filing for divorce. Michelle’s husband left her more than three years ago, and the divorce is as complicated and painful today as it was when they first filed.
Take a long-term perspective of your divorce
Divorce lawyer Laura Wasser encourages divorcing couples to heed the Golden Rule (even when it goes against all your instincts and emotions!). Treat your ex-husband, his family, his friends, and his staff the way you yourself would like to be treated. After filing for divorce, keep preparing yourself for conflict – and tell yourself that you will keep the long-term perspective in mind. Be kind, be reasonable, be brief, says Wasser. Remember that your ex-husband will no longer be your spouse, but he will continue to be your co-parent, family member and perhaps even a business partner in certain assets or entities. Try not to let emotion, hurt, fear or anger dictate how you act in the discussions or negotiations when you’re filing for divorce.
Treat your divorce like a business transaction
In 5 Things I Wish I’d Know When Filing for Divorce, Kristi Walker said her divorce attorney gave her the smartest piece of advice she ever received. He said she’ll feel like she’s in a tornado of emotions for a while. But, her divorce attorney asked her to approach the entire divorce as a business transaction. When you’re filing for divorce, you can break down when you get home. When you’re in the courtroom or at the lawyer’s office, you need to proceed as if you are negotiating a business deal. You are representing a “company” – your family and yourself – and you need to make good decisions.
Avoid making decisions out of spite, hatred, or revenge
When you’re filing for divorce, you’ll be tempted to make decisions to hurt your ex-husband. My friend Michelle has based 99% of her decisions on her hatred of her ex-husband. She refuses to listen to her divorce lawyer’s advice, and has stopped preparing herself for life after getting divorced. Not only did she refuse to learn how to prepare to file for divorce, she is fighting the courts’ decisions and recommendations every step of the way. Why? Because she hates her ex-husband for leaving her. Who is this hurting? Her four children, her extended family members, and herself. Her ex-husband has no problem fighting her. He’s winning, in fact, because she recently fired her divorce attorney.
Stay involved with the divorce process
Filing for divorce is one of many steps towards ending your marriage. One of the best tips for preparing yourself for the whole process is to commit to all stages of the divorce. Your lawyer needs you to be present, upright, and rational when making decisions about custody arrangements, alimony, financial transactions, etc.
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Do you need a divorce lawyer? Ask your coworkers, business leaders, family members, or any professional you know for referrals. Check out Bar Association listings, and do some internet research on divorce lawyers in your area, filing for divorce, and preparing to dissolve a marriage legally. When you first meet with a divorce lawyer, remember that it’s a preliminary fact-finding consultation. Find out the lawyer’s fees, terms and availability during an in-person meeting. You might even explore the lawyer’s record of achieving settlements via mediation/negotiation vs. via court proceedings before hiring him or her to file for divorce. If you aren’t comfortable with the divorce lawyer’s manner, consult with a different lawyer. You need to trust your divorce lawyer.
Keep telling yourself that you WILL have an amazing life after filing for divorce! Start preparing yourself to think ahead – read How to Make a Life After Divorce.
Learn about the division of assets, house titles, mortgages on your property, etc
These tips on preparing for the ordeal of filing for divorce aren’t legal or financial. That’s what your divorce lawyer is for! That said, however, I encourage you to start learning how to divide your assets as soon as possible. Talk to a legal aid lawyer – or hire your own divorce attorney – and learn how to protect yourself financially. Many women become financially destitute after filing for divorce, and it’s partly because of ignorance of the law. Men take advantage of this. Don’t disempower yourself by ignoring crucial financial and legal information, or procrastinating on the getting the divorce help you need.
Renew your faith every minute of the day
When you’re filing for divorce is when you need God the most. His strength, power, forgiveness, and love will sustain and guide you – if you seek Him! You may feel overwhelmed with emotions, practical problems, emotional drama, family issues, and work situations that all seem like the top priorities. In reality, your first priority is staying as emotionally and spiritually healthy as you can. Connect to the only source of power and strength that doesn’t change: God. Seek His presence and His peace. Pour out your heart, your pain, and your disappointments to Him. Do you hate what He’s allowed to happen in your marriage? Tell Him. You’ll find it cleansing and healing – and you’ll be in a better position to continue preparing for filing for divorce if you’re clear-headed and spiritually strong.
If you’re thinking about what’ll happen after you file for divorce, read After the Divorce – 5 Reasons Your Marriage Was Worthwhile.
I welcome your thoughts on these tips for preparing for filing for divorce. I can’t offer advice or legal counseling, but you might find it helpful to share your experience.
Faith isn’t about everything turning out okay. Faith is about being okay no matter how things turn out.
I also posted this article on When Love Bugs You: How to Know if Divorce is the Best Decision.