Divorce can be a minefield. Not only are you an emotional wreck, but you may also be looking down the barrel of some of the biggest moves of your financial, and parenting life. So with that in mind, here are some tips on surviving divorce:
The first step to divorce survival is to get organised. This means making a list of all your assets and debts, as well as your income and expenses. This will help you and your lawyer determine what you are entitled to, and how much child support or spousal maintenance you may have to pay.
Work out what you want
Now you know what you have, it’s time to think about what you want. What are your divorce goals? Where do you want to live? What about custody arrangements? Consider what is most important to you and start putting together a plan to achieve those goals. Remember to keep it fair, and to temper your expectations. Don’t go into this exercise trying to stick it to your ex, that’s not the goal here. Think about what you want from your life in the future, and work from there. This isn’t a definitive list, it will change over time, and need renegotiating, but for now, what are your priorities?
Find a good lawyer
A good lawyer can be worth their weight in gold when it comes to divorce. They can give you the advice you need to make sure you get a fair deal, and help you navigate the legal process. Shop around til you find someone who understands your goals and wants to work with you to achieve them.
Find a good therapist
Divorce can be a nightmare on your mental health. The amount of paperwork alone is enough to drive anyone to distraction. It can bring up distressing emotions, identity issues, and any amount of big, complex feelings. It’s important to prioritise self-care, and look after yourself at times like this, and it’s common to need professional help to do it. If you already see someone you trust, go there, but if you haven’t interacted in this space before, you can call your GP for a referral and a mental health plan to help with the costs, or give us a call at Women’s Health and Wellness Services. In a crisis you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14, or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636
Recruit your cheerleaders
Divorce can be an incredibly stressful and emotional process, so it’s important to reach out to friends, family, or even divorce support groups for help and support during this difficult time. Whether it’s practical advice on legal proceedings or just someone to listen as you work through your feelings of loss and grief, there are people out there who will be happy to help. Work out who is safe to talk to (divorce can be emotional for some of your nearest and dearest too, and not everyone is as supportive as you’d like), and make sure you have at least one or two close confidantes to rely on during this difficult time.
Put yourself first
Divorce can be an all-consuming process, so it’s important to make time for yourself and your own wellbeing. Whether that means taking some time out each day for a relaxing hobby, making sure you get enough exercise or sleep, or simply taking a break from divorce-related conversations and media, it’s crucial to nurture yourself both mentally and physically during this challenging time.
Focus on the end result
Ultimately, divorce is a passing phase, with a whole new time of life at the other end. Focusing on getting through the process and coming out of it into the kind of lifestyle you want for you and your family.