Nobody tells you these truths about divorce.
Divorce is tough. It’s tough on the couple, it’s tough on the kids, it’s tough on your friends, and it’s tough on your extended families. As a result, people never talk about it, even when some advice is sorely needed. We spoke to divorce attorneys, divorcees, and other people who’ve lived through it, and distilled down some advice that they all wish they’d known.
You Need To Make Decisions With Your Brain, Not Your Heart
Especially if a divorce is a surprise to you, it can be tempting to make decisions based on a future reconciliation you’re hoping for, or just a chance to get back at somebody who hurt you. But all you’ll wind up doing is hurting yourself. Before finalizing any decision, ask yourself if it makes sense in a practical content. It’s going to hurt sometimes to do so, but a lot less than a bad decision will hurt down the road.
Get A Full Financial Picture, Especially For Joint Accounts
Even if your spouse turns out to be civil and polite during proceedings, the truth is you still need to develop your own understanding of where your finances stand. What do you own, as a couple? What are your liabilities? What was your household budget?
Hire a Divorce Attorney
Even a divorce with both sides acting responsibly and maturely can be dragged out for months or even years if you don’t know what you’re doing. If one party or the other decides they want to be petty, well, that can drag it out even further. Get a divorce attorney; even if they only guide you through the process, they’ll help ensure it’s not more difficult than it needs to be.
Base Your Financial Decisions On Reality, Not Desires
It’d be great to keep the house but, on your earnings, can you afford the mortgage? You may want the car, but can you afford the gas and upkeep? As you decide how to divide the assets, keep that financial picture in front of you.
Your Children Will Act Out
Children, even adolescents, will tend to react badly to a divorce. They’re going to think it’s somehow their fault, no matter how many times you explain to them that they didn’t do anything wrong. Smaller children may regress a bit, and older children might act out in other ways. Be prepared to deal with this behavior.
Children can’t help but react.
Holidays and Special Times Will Be Difficult
Especially if the kids visit your spouse’s family, you may find yourself stuck at home with nobody but yourself for company, and that’s when things can get tough. Visit your family, book a vacation, or at least have some friends you can visit to help you get through the tough times.
A Divorce Doesn’t Mean Anything Other than Your Relationship Didn’t Work Out
Probably the hardest part of any divorce, long-term, is that people love to gossip, and far too many people will have an opinion on your personal life, even though it’s none of their business. It’s best to ignore them; a divorce can be emotionally difficult, but it doesn’t mean you have no value as a person. It just means your relationship didn’t work out. Remember that, and even the most mean spirited gossip will eventually stop trying to grind you down.
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