7 Steps to a Peaceful Divorce: A Myth or Reality?

Divorces are rarely easy, but with the right amount of planning, communication and representation, the stress can be more manageable. The following steps will help you have a smoother departure from a relationship that didn’t go as planned. Hampton & Royce will come alongside you to help streamline the process.

  1. Deal with Emotions Early On
    Regardless of how they unfold, divorces are emotional. You will help yourself immensely if you set out from the beginning to seek a counsellor and heal yourself first. Learn healthy coping mechanisms for the loss and pain you’ll experience. If your partner found someone else, you may have to deal with this emotional setback and a counselor can help.

Learn coping mechanisms to deal with feelings of resentment and anger. You may also need to take up a hobby to learn to deal with anxiety or worry.

Avoid thinking of a new partner or looking too far into the future. You are best to focus on the here and now and healing.

A counselor can also help if you find you are suffering with feelings of loss and loneliness. You may not want to open- up to your friends about all the details, but a professional may be different.

  1. Plan Early on and Communicate Often about Asset Division
    Work hard to avoid bitterness over asset divisions. Many couples who start in with the ‘who gets what,’ end up in anger over small, material things. Instead, work to focus on your new life and new environment to create. Why bother with items that will remind you of a marriage that ended.
    Gather your facts and figures so your lawyer can have an easier negotiation. The more documentation you have the better. It could be receipts, or a financial history that reflects liabilities and individual assets. Though it looks calculating, it is less emotional when facts and figures are used.

Consider giving your spouse the option to take what they want from the home. This will often make things go very quickly. Easy divisions are made when arguments are prevented, and couples can’t use gifts as weapons against each other.

  1. Look at Lawyers and the Court System as a Positive Aid
    Your lawyer and the court system will come with a fee so it can be easy to start to look at them as the enemy. It’s important to remember your lawyer can help you keep your financial loss to a minimum, even while you’re paying them. They can also help you navigate tricky asset divisions with ease or find a family schedule that keeps your ex-spouse and your children happy. The quicker you realize they are there to help you resolve the disagreement, the better it will go.
  2. Work Out Family Schedules for Children
    Divorce is obviously more difficult when children are involved. Try to work out visiting schedules early on. Coming to terms on time shared is the healthiest thing for your children. Do not use them as weapons or rewards for your ex-spouse.

Keep an eye out for emotional abuse or manipulation from you or your ex-spouse. This may look like, ‘You’d stay here if you loved me,’ or, ‘I’ll buy you this if you live with me.’

Use a mediator or consultant to help improve communication and come to a better custody arrangement. You will likely be in court anyway, but it helps to show you are working hard to put your children’s needs first.

Be flexible. You may have to try a few arrangements before you find one acceptable to you and your ex-spouse. The more flexible the two of you can remain, the more likely you’ll find a mutually beneficial arrangement.

  1. Avoid Expectations of the Community Response
    Be prepared that your friends and those that know you will also be struck by the news of your divorce. Often it means leaving some colleagues or friends behind and making new friends along the way. You may find yourself losing friends as they feel forced to choose a side, try to remain mature about it. It can be very difficult when there was a great deal of value placed on a relationship. Keeping realistic expectations can really help.
    Try not to expect your friends to take sides. It helps when you don’t air your dirty laundry about your ex-spouse. Reassure them the divorce was friendly, and that you are going to try to stay friends. This can often ease tensions when it is true. It’s also important to try not to bring your ex-spouse up.
  2. Get a Little Distance from the Broken Relationship
    One of the best ways to help heal after a failed marriage is to work on rediscovering the individual you and the dreams you once had. Maybe things got pushed to the side because of your partner’s hobbies, a lack of time or budget disagreements. Now is a good time to take up where you left off. Make some changes and move on. When you start feeling this way, you are entering a stage that is referred to as central separation, where you start to feel whole again. This is a good time to set some rules for interactions with your spouse. Some things to consider are:
  • Don’t use children to convey messages. Send it through the mail or email. Texts and phone calls can be too intimate this early on.
    • Cease any conversation with your ex-spouse that becomes disrespectful, becomes a shout out or you are no longer being heard in. Try again when things have calmed down.
    • Be as business-like as possible with all future interactions for the sake of your children.
    • Keep conversations to the point and not personal.
    • If you need more child support, approach it in a business manner and try to not get emotional.
    • Get some distance. Don’t ask your ex-spouse for help, advice or anything that you used to. You will need to find new people for advice such as doctors, lawyers or new friends. You may need to consider finding a handy-helper.

    7.  Aim for Re-Awakening the Individual ‘You’
    You may need to make a concentrated effort to start thinking of yourself as an individual again instead of a ‘we.’ You may have to look at new ways to deal with feelings of anger, grief and denial and replace them with acceptance. Some tips to consider:
    • Be gentle with yourself. You may feel broken, vulnerable or lacking in self-esteem. These emotions often happen regardless of whether you initiated the divorce. There may be a feeling of relief. However, you feel, forming new habits is healthy.
    • Skip the self-blame and look for inner peace. Your relationship had two people, this means you were both responsible and involved. Blaming is a harmful emotion, especially in regard to the end of a marriage.
    • Consider trying something like a martial arts meditation, Pilates or another active class to help reset your mood.

Following a few simple steps and having a plan can help you survive even uglier divorces. Take a few extra minutes for you and consider each step you take, get quality representation and you’ll be on your way.

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