A Survival Guide to Divorce
Are you thinking of filing for divorce? Or perhaps you were suddenly handed divorce papers and are now being pushed into ending your marriage? Whether it was your idea to divorce or not, the road ahead can have serious bumps, twists, and pitfalls—if you don’t bring a map.
At Foster Swift, our divorce attorneys assist our clients in being as knowledgeable as possible with the divorce process. A big part of avoiding frustrations, delays, and other legal issues is knowing what you should do during your divorce, and what NOT to do. Take a moment to review our “Divorce Survival Guide” for some useful insight, tips, and hints.
- Support yourself: Divorce can make you feel less than yourself. The moment you realize divorce is a possibility, talk to trusted friends and family about what is happening. The next step may be to meet with a therapist who can help navigate this difficult journey with you and provide specialized emotional support. Even if you don’t want their direct input or involvement, you will want to know that you have support from someone other than your spouse, who can keep up your confidence level as the divorce proceeds. Remember, divorce is a very emotional process and the last thing you want to do is make life-changing decisions that are clouded by emotion.
- Be courteous: There is a time to vigorously present your point of view, but adopting this approach in front of your confused children, your ruling judge, or your spouse is not always the best option. Divorcing is possibly the most difficult time to remain patient and kind. Your behavior is under a microscope during a pending divorce. Immature or spiteful behavior can influence how a judge decides issues such as custody, parenting time, support and distributing assets. Be courteous in all communications -- texts, emails and verbal exchanges.
- Consider compromise: In an ideal divorce, you would get exactly what you wanted, and maybe a little more. The reality of your divorce is that there will be some give-and-take. Try to identify your priorities, what you need and what you really don’t, and maybe even identify a compromise in the middle with the goal of bringing an end to the divorce process. Remember: the longer your divorce process, the more money you are going to pay, which means less money for your retirement and your children’s college. It also means, a longer “divorce limbo,” where you and your children are unable to heal, and move forward to the next chapter.
- Don’t rush ahead: Most relationship experts agree that jumping straight into a new relationship after a divorce is a losing situation for everyone. By slowing down and taking some time to get back on your feet, you can stabilize yourself in your new life. If you have children, an immediate rebound can be confusing or upsetting to them. Don’t run away from potential new relationships, but the general consensus is not to go looking for them during your divorce.
- Don’t go silent: Ending your marriage means ending a friendship, and your first instinct might be to distance yourself from that person as much as possible. During and after a divorce, it is important that you still remain in communication with your ex-spouse. Giving the silent treatment or outright ignoring him/her creates a roadblock that benefits no one. However because every relationship is different, there may be certain times when communication is not recommended such as in the case of domestic violence.
- Don’t forget your children: While it is true that a divorce is between two people, its impact can affect children the most. Check in routinely with your kids to see how they are handling the divorce and if they have any questions. You will want to be honest with them but don’t divulge any details they don’t need to know, such as if your ex-spouse was less than faithful. Do not bring your children into the middle of the divorce and the conflict. If this is occurring (by either parent), a neutral, child therapist can help your kids navigate their emotions. Showing that you remember and love them during the divorce, will work wonders for their happiness and confidence. Ask yourself this question during the divorce: What do you want your children to say about the divorce and their parents’ years later when they are adults? Manage yourself and your divorce in a way that will ensure that goal is met.
If you need legal counsel, we encourage you to schedule your consultation today. Once again, if you have any questions regarding the divorce process in Michigan, you can contact our attorneys at Foster Swift. We would be happy to help you and your family through this trying time, as we have been doing for families for decades.
Andrea offers more than a decade of courtroom experience in civil, criminal, family law and juvenile matters. Drawn to the particular needs of clients in family law, Andrea has dedicated her time to serving those navigating the sometimes complex arena of the family court system.View All Posts by Author ›