Top Ten Tips For Divorce

Follow these tips for smooth sailing.

1. Keep your children out of it. Let kids be kids—they don’t need to know all the nitty-gritty details about the divorce. The best thing you can do for them is maintain stability and security. Don’t put them in the middle or get them involved in your emotional struggles.

2. Don’t rush things. As much as you want this divorce to be over, be sure you are making thoughtful decisions. Decisions made out of fear or in haste are rarely good ones.

3. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Make a list of your hopes and rank them in order of importance. Concentrate on finding a good resolution to the issues at the top of the list. Don’t squabble about the CD collection or wagon-wheel coffee table.

4. Screen your phone calls. Everyone is going to have opinions about your divorce. While some of the advice you get will be helpful, be careful not to let other people shift your focus or aggravate the situation.

5. Find a therapist. Yes, it’s another expense at a time when money is already tight—but, trust me, it will save you money in the long run. You will make better decisions and save money on legal fees (since you won’t be crying on your attorney’s shoulder for $400 per hour).

6. Take time for yourself. Divorce is like a marathon. You will need to build your strength and energy to keep you going through this transitional time. Go to a movie with a friend, take a yoga class, or get a massage.

7. Treat your ex with respect. I know, it will be hard. They may not be worthy of your respect. But if you can rise above and find a way to treat him or her with respect, the process will be smoother, you will save money in legal fees, and you will be respecting your child’s parent.

8. Consider mediation. See if mediating your divorce, or at least some of the high-conflict issues, will save money and help avoid another court hearing.

9. Don’t date. OK, I know this is controversial, but I stand by it. I have seen many couples that were on track for having a peaceful divorce get completely derailed when one of the parties started dating. Yes, you both want to get divorced and move on with your love lives, but seeing one’s spouse with another person can bring up feelings of jealousy and anger. These feelings will play out in settlement. People who are feeling angry or betrayed are more likely to be vindictive and unwilling to come to peaceful resolutions.

10. Feel good about your divorce. You may have regrets about your marriage, but you don’t have to have regrets about your divorce. Here is your chance to make good decisions. Put your kids first, act with confidence, and treat your spouse with respect. It will be hard, but it will pay off tenfold!

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