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Things to Do (and NOT To Do) During a Divorce

There are many things that can change in our life and divorce is just one or a product of those changes. The process of divorce doesn’t necessarily have to be hairy but almost everything that goes wrong is deeply rooted to what was not working well in the relationship – this makes it tricky for both parties. This is coupled to the fact that it is highly emotional with strong feelings of grief, anger, and loss, so it’s crucial to have some guidelines to navigate through this process smoothly. Here are some of the things you should do and NOT do during a divorce:

1. Get Legal Assistance

DOs: Get legal advice and representation without getting too testy about it. If possible, get a lawyer that is also a mediator to reduce the risk of gaslighting the situation. Andrea Morgan at MorganDivorceLaw.com says that clients appreciate non-adversarial proceedings but if things go south they’d want somebody who’ll have their rights as their priority. Learn from your lawyer what legal process can you do in a divorce to help you feel confident about what will happen next.

DON’Ts: Do not forego legal rights without having consulted a lawyer on how to go about it. You will also have to keep attorney fees down by being sensible in your battles about who gets to keep what. Also do not go to any settlement or meetings without a lawyer present. They can help you understand any legal repercussions that may come about from your decisions.

2. Parental Rules

DOs: Spend more time with your children and make sure they understand that it is not their fault. Abide by the rules set about visitation, custody, and child support, also don’t show your frustrations against each other to your children. Maintain the respect that they should have to you and your ex as parents. Saying negative things to your children about your ex will only make things worse for them and will ultimately come around to hurt you.

DON’Ts: Do not involve your young children in the proceedings. Although it’s important to have them at the center of the divorce process, it can be unduly burdensome for pre-teen children to have to make decisions in the living arrangements between their parents. Also, do not let them hear you discuss negotiations as it will only confuse them and make them feel insecure. Also, do not use your children as messengers between the two of you as it will only be difficult for them to say the appropriate things. Also, your children should come first, don’t make them feel like guests to your house, they should feel just as comfortable in your new home with their old one. 

3. Finances

DOs: Pay any obligations on time. Obey all court mandates and use the proper channels if you want things to change. This is also to avoid any legal ramifications, however, you can keep track on how the money is spent as you’ll have to agree where it should go such as rent/mortgage, food, utilities, and other necessities. If you think this is not followed, make sure you document them to file for modifications in your agreements.

DON’Ts: Don’t pull any surprises to your partner and avoid doing things that can cause you to fail in committing to your financial obligations. Do not let your emotions run high during the negotiations, being hurt is natural but getting vindictive during the proceedings will only cost you more attorney fees.

4. Communication

DOs: Make sure you have a proper communication arrangement in place. It helps to reduce feelings of suspicion against the partner and can develop into a more productive venue to work on important details about the divorce.

DON’Ts: As mentioned, do not try to do things beyond the scope of what was agreed. Submit and comply with everything according to the agreement as any surprises will only make the other party contentious and make the situation unravel. Also, do not try to manipulate your ex-partner, be a good new kind of partner in raising your children properly.

5. Emotional Recovery

DOs: You will need to do things that will help you recover from the turmoil of going through such a difficult experience. You can try to reconnect to friends you have before the marriage, they can help you offer support through this time. You can also consult a therapist to help you go over some issues and help you make yourself whole.

DON’Ts: Do not make your children your therapists, it will only put an undue burden on them. Do not also pick habits like drinking or drugs to help you get over the loss of your relationship, it will only make things worse. Do not overreact to everything and always think things through before you make a response or decide on something.

photo by Denny Müller at Unsplash

These are just some basic things to help you go through a difficult experience and surely, you can pick things up along the way. Although there might be a terrible feeling of pain and loss, try your best to be reasonable and maintain a decent relationship with your ex-spouse in raising your children and keep your sanity in place.


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