I read today that contrary to popular belief, Thomas Edison, did not invent the lightbulb in his basement after an ‘AHA’ moment. In fact, it was years of trial and error and a team of over 30 people that contributed to the invention. If you read about any of the major accomplishments of note, you’ll learn that there’s really no such thing as an overnight sensation and that it really does “take a village” as Hillary Clinton famously said.
How many times have you wished you could snap your fingers and get to the finish line of divorce? Forget the financials, keep the kids in one place, maintain the status quo everywhere else – wouldn’t that be nice? Your energy is constantly being sapped, you have so many tasks that require different professional resources and deadlines that need to be met. The demands are endless and seem to be taking a lifetime. Like any great feat, it takes time and resources to get it done.
Divorce is a journey, honestly, it doesn’t end with the finalized divorce judgment either, especially if you have children. Your life continues to reorganize and recalibrate to accommodate the changes. One of my coach trainers said it best “you don’t get over a divorce, you just learn to integrate it into your life.” If you can find a way through this process and look at each aspect as a new and different journey, you will get through this process stronger and happier for it. You’ll be amazed at how much strength and resolve you really have and find that what might have seemed like an insurmountable task before your divorce, doesn’t phase you at all.
Sounds great, but how do you do it?
It takes work – lots of work. Start with goals.
Who do you want to be as you go through this process? Angry? Resigned? Overwhelmed?
What do you want to happen during the process?
What do you need financially to maintain a good lifestyle?
How do you want your kids to come out of the process?
What do you want for yourself post-divorce?
Write down your goals.
It will help you think them through. You can then refer to them when you have a difficult moment.
Find an outlet for your emotions outside your lawyer’s office.
Therapy, Coaching, physical activity, meditation, whatever floats your boat. You will have a range of emotions that will need to be released. If you hold them in, they will come out somehow, likely in the worst moments.
Do your research.
If you hire a shark and expect a peaceful negotiation, you’ll be sorely mistaken. Get informed about what the different methods are to get divorced and what would be best for your situation. Meet with different professionals before you hire anyone – don’t jump on your best friend’s attorney because she said so. Your marriage was different, your divorce will be different.
Don’t fear your finances.
Have someone help you with the numbers if you find them scary. It’s perfectly normal to want to pass that part off to your lawyer or financial advisor, however, if you don’t pay attention now, you won’t know what you’re getting. If you don’t know what you need, you may not get enough or plan to supplement what you are getting. What would it feel like to find yourself in a precarious financial situation with nowhere to turn? You need to be prepared and know how to manage for yourself.
Put your kids first.
Always behave in the best interest of your children, even if it hurts. It’s not their fault you’re getting divorced. They shouldn’t have to pay the price. Their lives will be impacted enough by the change. Your kids will be watching both of you. It’s okay to be sad, even angry at your ex, it’s not okay to put them in the middle or use them as your sounding board. Research shows that kids suffer more from how you get divorced than whether or not you do.
Plan for the future.
What do you want to do with your life? If you’re a stay-at-home mom, do you want to return to the workforce? Do you have a social circle of friends to spend time with when your children are with the other parent? Would you like to try something different or spend some more time doing a hobby that you didn’t have time for in the past? The more you have to look forward to, the easier it will be to imagine your life post-divorce.