Five Tips to Help Keep Your Sanity Through a Divorce
Are you considering an end to your marriage? Every situation is different however by following these simple guidelines, you should be able to make the process of separation and divorce easier. I found these tips as part of a longer article published in MoneySense magazine in 2006. Today, these tips are still of value and worth sharing.
Separate your emotional state from your financial state: “I have seen people fight over everything from the joint funeral plots to who gets the color TV,” says Murdoch. But continuing to bicker and fight in court over small details of a settlement prevents you both from moving on with your lives. “Be big about things,” advises Murdoch. “It pays off in the long run.”
Recognize that you’re likely to be poorer after a divorce. Once you have an idea how the assets will be divided and whether you will get, or pay, support, examine your budget and figure out a way to make up any shortfall, either by working more or by taking a more frugal approach to life.
Consider Mediation: Too often couples who once lived together in harmony find themselves pitted against each other in court. Mediation — during which a couple comes to a compromise with the help of a third party — can provide a gentler, less hostile environment for attaining an agreement. Mediation is often cheaper in the long run, says Murdoch. “If both spouses have input into the settlement, then they’re more likely to follow it.”
Focus on the kids: Research shows that the more conflict there is between divorcing parents, the harder it is on the kids, says Murdoch. And yet, people often become hyper-critical of their fellow parent after a divorce. “They’ll get bent out of shape over something, like whether he is allowed sugar after dinner. But they fail to see that what really causes lasting damage to a child is trashing the other parent.”
You can’t change who your co-parent is. So find a way to cooperate for the good of your child, advises Murdoch. Her rules of thumb: keep the lines of communication open; don’t use your child to send messages or spy on your spouse; use mediation as a way to resolve disputes about the kids; and get your child counselling, if needed.
Look to the future: The steps people go through during a separation or divorce are similar to grieving a death in the family, says Murdoch. Despair and bad feelings are part of the package, and it may take several years and some counselling before you’re able to move on emotionally. “You have to realize that divorce is a process,” she says. “And those feelings of sadness or anger are normal.” The good news: eventually they fade. “I’ve seen some people who have been totally devastated by a divorce. A few years later I run into them and they’re like different people. You have to try to look at this as a chance for a new beginning.”
Original article can be found here: http://www.moneysense.ca/magazine-archive/how-i-survived-divorce/