The Divorce Journey
Divorce attorneys will tell you January can be a busy time for people initiating divorce proceedings. To avoid the family conflict and drama over the holidays, spouses often wait until the new year to announce their decision to finally get out of their marriage. For most people getting served with divorce papers is emotionally upsetting whether it was expected or not. It is the first step in the death of a dream once begun with the joy and promise on your wedding day that eventually ends with the divorce decree by the court. Generally, half of what you own is now gone, you’ll see your children less than you’d like and you’ve spent more time, money and emotion than you could probably afford. It can be a tough road but how you ultimately navigate that journey begins with you.
Hurt and Anger can run/ruin our lives
Experience has shown us that it is difficult to make hard and complex decisions when we are hurting, upset or angry. We are emotionally vulnerable and simply not operating at our best, most rational adult selves. We turn to trusted friends, family members, lawyers and financial advisers for help deciding how best to unravel all that ties us together when we marry. Legal, financial, relational and emotion bonds that have been forged in our marriages come to an end. If children are involved we need to “re-contract” on how we are going to operate as separate families living in separate households but still parenting our children as best we can.
A first step in your divorce journey, whether you initiated it or not, is to get as much emotional support and clarity as possible. Strong emotions often get in the way of thinking clearly and unless we are careful to manage these “big feelings” we might get tripped up and make decisions that are not in our best interests or the best interests of our children. A good divorce attorney will tell you, “advocate for your values and interests, not for your anger.” Yet that is easier said than done when we are feeling wounded, betrayed and perceive that the welfare of our children may be at stake.
Lawyers and financial advisers are there to help but you are ultimately the decision maker along the road to divorce. Each step requires you to make decisions that have a lasting impact on your future and that of your family. It is important that you begin early to work through the emotional side of the divorce with a trained therapist or counselor as soon as possible to help manage your feelings throughout this journey. Only when you are your best self, cognitively, emotionally and even spiritually can you make the best decisions that will serve you in the long run.
Hopefully, this New Year greets you with only good news and opportunities. However, In the event of a divorce, whether planned or not, consider getting the needed support so you can be as emotionally healthy as possible.
Article by Chris Klippen, MA, LAMFT, JD, Therapist/Counselor