A divorce is a difficult time, no matter how agreeable the involved parties may be. You were committed to a relationship that has not worked out – that’s never easy to deal with. Most people know when divorce is a real possibility. If you have not experienced a divorce before, here are some tips to consider so that you will be prepared for some of the more trying aspects.
1. Prepare for tough conversations. Communication with your spouse is a key to lessening the tension surrounding divorce, and in reaching a quicker, and more harmonious settlement of the issues in your relationship that must be resolved before you can sign a Marital Settlement Agreement. Arrange to sit and talk at least 24 hours in advance to allow both of you time to calm down. When you do meet, follow some of these suggestions:
Mutually agree on a place where you can talk candidly without interruption.
When you do meet, begin by acknowledging that your talk will be emotional, but that you want a clearer understanding about the state of your relationship.
If you suspect that your spouse is seeing someone else or is engaging in conduct that is harmful (such as gambling or drinking), then let your spouse know that at the outset.
Be respectful to each other. If you interrupt each other, stop and remind yourself to be patient when the other is speaking.
Stay on topic, and do not bring up other allegations unrelated to the main focus. If there are several underlying issues, concentrate on one at a time.
If you cannot find resolution, see if your spouse will agree to counseling or mediation.
If divorce is inevitable, see if you can agree regarding the children, or if there will be disagreements on this issue, alimony, or the distribution of property. If so, you may want to have a future discussion on each issue to determine your relative positions.
2. Avoid divorce around times that project to be more emotional. Deciding that you want to divorce your spouse can be an emotionally wrenching choice. Before you file, take time to calm your emotions, and examine your reasons for divorce. If there are other pressing matters such as problems at work, an ill child, sibling or in-law, or other emotional situation, do not exacerbate the tension and stress by discussing or filing for divorce. It can lead to resentment, and an intractable attitude on the part of your spouse.
3. Keep good records. Maintaining accurate and detailed records can make a difference in the assets that are distributed, whether you can receive alimony (and how much you will be awarded), and how the court views your credibility and integrity. Florida is an equitable distribution state, and although the court will try to divide the marital assets equally, it will give one party more of the assets if certain circumstances dictate that it is fair. Good record keeping can accurately value the assets, or indicate how your efforts improved a non-marital asset. It can also show that a previously separate asset should now be considered as marital. Lastly, better preparation and record keeping will significantly reduce your attorneys fees.
Hiding or seriously undervaluing assets can also anger the court and affect how the court will rule on other issues.
4. Take care of yourself. Other than the death of a spouse, a divorce is the most stressful event you can experience. Ending a relationship like marriage can result in anger, regret, profound sadness, and grief. Your life is disrupted from the loss of someone to whom you were committed for life. If you have children, your loss is further compounded. Maintaining your emotional and physical well-being is important so that you can begin to cope with the fact that a divorce is inevitable. Tips to help you include:
Avoid using alcohol, drugs or food to soothe your pain since these can obviously be self-destructive.
Consider exercising 3-5 times a week.
Take a yoga class, which can help with relax you with deep breathing and meditative exercises.
Join a singles or activity group. Many communities have such groups for almost any kind of activity imaginable. If you do not see one you like, start one yourself.
Seek support from friends and family.
If you find that you are still depressed, are gaining weight, drinking, or sleeping too much, consider seeking professional counseling.
Recovering from the deep emotions involving a divorce can take time, but there are measures you can take which can help make the process at least a little easier.