The start of a new year is often a time when people reflect on where they are in their lives and what they want for the future. If you are separated or recently divorced, ideally, you should be thinking about how to move into the next stage of your life. To help with that process, consider some of these resolutions for the new year:
- Pick your battles. Everything is not equally important to you or your (ex)spouse. Prioritize your concerns whether they are financial or child related. Be willing to compromise on the issues that are less meaningful to you. The more you are willing to find common ground, the faster you will resolve disputes and the more satisfied you will be with the end result because you both agreed to the solution instead of a judge imposing a decision.
- Ask for help. This can mean accepting assistance from friends, family, support groups, mental health professionals or others. Divorce is stressful and brings up many negative emotions that you must work through before you can begin to heal. There is no shame in getting help.
- Take control of your finances. Many women still leave financial decision-making to husbands. As a result, when a divorce occurs, they do not know how to budget, invest or manage their money. The impact of this is even worse because women often find themselves with less income and more expenses after divorce. Find a qualified financial advisor to assist you in developing a short- and long-term financial plan. In addition, talk with an attorney to revise your estate planning documents.
- Be a good co-parent. Conflicts between parents also affect children. Unless there is abuse or danger posed by the other parent, it is important to put your kids first and cooperate with your spouse on all issues that affect your children. In addition, you should never bad mouth your spouse or encourage your kids to pick sides.
- Eat well and exercise. Stress has many negative effects on the body. Eating regular and healthy meals provide energy and reduce the chance of illness. Physical activity also helps you maintain your health as well as positively affecting your mood. During exercise, your body releases chemicals that can relieve stress and combat depression. It can also improve your sleep, concentration and judgment.
- Socialize. You may have stopped socializing with friends during your divorce and feel awkward after it’s over. In some cases, it may be difficult to deal with old relationships and “dividing up” joint friends. Friendships with couples can also end because you are now the single one. While some relationships may not continue, you should reach out to friends to reconnect as well as look for new ones. Divorce support groups and those for singles (or single parents) can be a place to start, but also investigate new activities or going back to old ones you stopped.
While divorce is never a pleasant experience, it does not have to be a nightmare. Litigation fuels animosity between the parties. A collaborative divorce process, however, encourages the parties to work together to achieve results that are based on their mutual concessions and the family’s shared interests. It also provides a foundation for spouses to develop an amicable way to relate to each other, so they can continue to deal with issues as they arise in the future. With collaborative divorce, the parties also receive assistance from an interdisciplinary team of lawyers, health care professionals and financial neutrals. Ultimately, this enables couples to move forward in their lives faster than a prolonged conflict.
If you would like to learn how collaborative divorce can help you achieve a quicker, less costly, and fairer resolution of your divorce, contact me for a consultation.