I am taking a break from parenting, kids and babies who don’t sleep today. I have a few friends who are going through or have just gone through a divorce and my posts on maintenance court are the ones with the most views so I thought I would post a little survival guide to getting divorced.
Divorce is never going to be easy, if it is amicable but there are a few things you can do to make it less stressful.
- Accept you are getting divorced! Whether it was your decision or your partners, accept it. Stop trying to fight it. Once one party has decided that they want to get divorced your begging and pleading will not change their mind. Accept it. For me this happened the day I moved out. I had been working to that point but the day I left was the day I accepted it.
- Break away from your ex. Move out or get him to move out. You can not live together. It is not healthy for you, for them or for any children. You need the time apart to deal with the process about to follow! Limit any communication to email only and try to remain as unemotional as possible when dealing with your ex.
- Surround yourself with honest friends. Divorce is one of those things that help you determine who your real friends are. Some will stay, others will leave. The ones you want in your life are the ones who will be honest with you while holding your hand. You need support but you need honesty more.
- Get a good lawyer. It may be expensive and is not always possible but get the best legal advise you can.Make sure whoever you get has family law experience. This was probably my single biggest mistake. I only got a proper family lawyer after nearly 4 years of fighting.
- Know the law. Find out as much as you can about your rights and the rights of your children. Know what you are entitled to and how to get it. The process of maintenance in particular can be very time consuming in this country but it DOES work if you know what to do.
- Let it go. This is probably the hardest one, especially if you didn’t want to get divorced but let your marriage go. Let your ex go. Get rid of the resentment, anger and frustration – it will only eat away at your soul.
- Allow yourself the bad days. Cry when you need to, drink too much wine when you need to, swear at the universe if you need to. Allow yourself to feel overwhelmed. Trying to be strong constantly will break you. It is a hard and draining process so allow yourself the bad days!
- Find a safe place. Somewhere you can go where you shut the world out and feel safe. For me it was my friend Ansie’s garden under the big Jacaranda tree. There was no judgement, no expectation, just honest and support. It is still one of the safe places (even though the Jacaranda was cut down).
- Shut out the noise. Everyone has something to say about getting divorced. Shut them out. Don’t pay attention to the negativity or judgement.
- You are stronger than you think. Cliched yes but also true!
There was a stage in my life where it felt like I would be getting divorced for ever. It seemed there was no end to the drama and the fighting. But here I am 8 years later in a happy healthy relationship.
If you are going through a divorce – keep your head up, face forward and march on.