If you are nearing the end of a divorce or have recently signed the papers to finalize your divorce, you may be asking yourself: “What’s next”? Sure, the actual legal part of the divorce may be over (or soon will be) and the weight of that burden may be lifted, but in most cases you don’t just get to walk away with a clean slate.
Even if you were the spouse that wanted the divorce, you are now going on to live a life without the person that you once loved. If you have children, emotions can be high and balancing life’s situations can become increasingly difficult.
The following are a few situations that you should anticipate the divorce:
- You will feel lonely at times. Holidays may make you feel even more alone. Surrounding yourself with supportive friends and family is always important.
- You may lose friends along the way. The friends that you once thought were loyal to you may prove to be unsupportive or may choose sides with your ex-spouse. You may be surprised to find out which friends you can truly count on.
- If you have children, they may not always verbally express how they are feeling about the divorce but it is entirely common for them to behave differently than they otherwise would. Be aware of changes in their behavior at home and school. Encourage them to express how they are feeling. If behavior becomes extreme, it is best to contact a professional who can help.
- It is important to be mindful of not bashing your ex-spouse in front of your children. Deal with your ex directly and do not put your children in the middle of an issue.
- Work with your ex as a team when it comes to your children. Not all divorces end well or on ideal terms, but if you can remain civil with one another you can still do a great job of raising your children together.
- You may not feel up for jumping into the dating scene-and that’s okay. Sometimes moving on can be easier when you have someone new by your side but if you have children this can easily upset them, and for good reason. Taking the time to figure out what it is that you really want in the next phase of your life is important and gives your children time to heal from the emotional stress of the divorce. If you do date, do not introduce the children to him/her until you are sure you will have a long term relationship.
- Expect lots of change. From the kids’ schedules to holidays-things are going to be different than what you were once used to. Try to remain calm, open-minded, and stay organized. Communication with your ex-spouse is crucial.
- Your emotions may be a roller-coaster ride. Some days you will feel like you have it all figured out and other days you may feel like a failure. Keep moving forward and be mindful that some days will be easier than others. At the end of the day, everyone makes mistakes and they are all learning experiences.
Divorce is not a situation that most people expect to find themselves in and it is often unpleasant. Divorce can be disruptive and draining, however, finding the right legal team to guide you through the process is a critical first step.