Getting a divorce is an unfortunate end to what usually starts out as a loving and fun relationship. But it is a reality in our society. It may not be easy to be the "bigger person" when you feel as though your heart is broken, or you're so angry you could scream. It will not be easy to see the family that you worked so hard to create, breaking up. And it will certainly not be easy to turn your ex-spouse into a friend or acquaintance. When traveling the hopefully short family law journey through your divorce, be sure to take these tips into consideration.
Negotiation and Mediation
The last thing you may feel like doing is negotiating with your soon-to-be ex. Sitting in a room across from them may seem like torture in the beginning. But it is a really great way to get issues settled in a civil and calm way; and a great way to be able to speak for yourself instead of having someone (lawyers) speak for you.
Don't be Selfish
You want the kids, so does your spouse. You want the car, the couch the house, the painting... You both worked hard over the course of your marriage and you both deserve an equal share.
When it comes to your children, remember the old adage "it takes a village to raise a child..." Don't try and make your kids grow up without a mother or father. Except for extreme cases, try and discuss a fair custody agreement.
Forgive, Forgive, Forgive
To err is human, to forgive is... really hard, but necessary. You both went into the marriage together and probably came out as two different people. With the exception of abuse, marriages take two to tango and no one is ever completely innocent or untainted. Remember that you once dearly loved your spouse and even though you will not be spending the rest of your lives together as planned and your immediate futures are in the hands of a law office, they still deserve kindness and compassion as your friend.
It is also imperative to forgive yourself - no one is perfect and being married is hard. Move on with your life looking forward into the future.
Let Go of Anger
Anger is not your friend during a divorce. Life is short and so was your marriage. See step number 3 and try to maintain your dignity and self-respect, especially in front of your children. You should never let your children be in the middle of an angry, negative divorce - it will stay with them forever.
When seeking legal advice, and sitting in front of lawyers, you need to put your emotions aside and act with a clear head. It won't be easy, but it will be worth it in the short and long term. Acting in extreme anger can lead to unfortunate situations: flaunting new relationships, property destruction, bodily harm and character degradation to name a few. It's not an elegant road to travel down.
Do Not Involve Your Children
If there are children involved in your situation, always remember that they are not to blame. They absolutely hear everything, see everything and sense everything anyway, and your jobs, as always, are to comfort and support them. Making a child choose sides, see anger or abuse, or think that a divorce is their fault are cowardly, heinous things to do, no matter what their age.
Remember that your divorce doesn't have to be a circus. It may be a relief, it may be unpleasant or it may be heart-breaking. The key is to stay calm and clear-headed as much as possible and get out of the situation with some peace of mind and self-respect.