If you are waiting for the end of the holiday season before you begin the painful process of separation and divorce, here are 5 steps you can take to help ease your burden.
- Meditate daily: It is generally accepted that mediation will help people reduce stress and live a calmer and more thoughtful life. In addition, a University of Wisconsin study saw increased electrical activity in regions of the left frontal lobe, an area that tends to be more active in optimistic people, after eight weeks of training in meditation. Maintaining a calm mind will help you make reasoned, informed decisions. The added benefit of helping improve your optimism is especially important as divorce often brings with it depression and negative thought patterns.
- Stay out of court (and away from the litigators). People who litigate rarely find that the financial cost and emotional suffering was worth it. There are other ways to resolve a divorce or separation, and litigation should be used only in the most egregious circumstances, such as domestic violence, serious mental health issues, or chronic substance abuse problems. Collaborative practice, Mediation and even binding arbitration are often much better alternatives than a nasty court fight.
- Get Help: Don’t suffer alone through the divorce process. Many people perceive divorce as a personal failure. Therapy can help one work through those feelings, make sense of the end of the marriage, and obtain a new perspective. A good friend can also be very helpful, as can support groups. Many men have found strength and support through the New Warrior Training Adventure.
- Play The Long Game: Divorce and separation are different. In most situations a continuing relationship with your spouse will be required after the case ends. The lawyers will be gone, as will be the Guardian, the Judge, and others who have been involved in the case. How you get through the divorce will have a permanent impact on the rest of your life. Do you want to go through life hating your spouse and being resentful of him or her, or do you want to go through your remaining years content with what you have and being able to enjoy watching your kids grow and develop. Remember that you will be modeling for you children how adults handle difficult situations, so be a good role model!
- Keep your perspective: What is really important to you? Don’t let your divorce lawyer take you down the path of mindless litigation. Is a one or two percent difference in the asset division really that important to you? Will one or two extra overnight visitations with the children really make that much of a difference in your relationship with them? Don’t try to “win”- no one wins a divorce case. Make an informed and reasonable decision at the beginning of the case about what you want and then move forward, being prepared to compromise. Your family will continue after the divorce, the only thing that will change is the legal recognition that the State will place on your relationship with your soon to be X.