I have represented hundreds of clients in hundreds of family law issues in California, both big and small. I have been through my own divorce. In most divorces, there comes a time where my client wants to just get back at his or her ex, and there comes a time when my client just wants it all to be over, at any cost. These are normal ups and downs, and I consider it part of my job to help clients through the transition and make sure they don’t agree to or do anything against their interests in the heat of a transitory emotion.
But there are ways to manage these emotions, and in fact keep your own sanity and power in the divorce process. Here are some tips I have learned:
- Focus on what YOU can do in the process and stop worrying about your ex, your ex’s lawyer, the judge, and other professionals or friends/family members. Blaming others for the difficult process is not going to make it move faster, or be less expansive, or easier.
- Referring to #1 above, the process is always more time-consuming and expensive than you thought it would be. Accept this, make sure you’re working with an attorney who is on the same page with you (and not working against you in terms of time or cost), and who helps to educate you about the process in reality instead of promising things that are impossible to get, and try to move on the best you can in the context of the process.
- Examine your own motivations. The law does not allow you to use it to get revenge or hurt your ex, and ultimately these tactics hurt everyone, prolong the process and cost you more money.
- Don’t make decisions based on emotion. If the new request from your ex has you seeing red, take a day or two to calm down before responding. Talk it through with your lawyer and make a reasoned decision about how to respond instead of a knee-jerk reaction that may hurt you in the future, or embarrass you when you’ve cooled down.
- Keep both your boundaries and your wits about you. If you get down in the trenches and play dirty with your ex, then you’re just stooping down to their level instead of maintaining your own sanity and dignity. Does s/he try to bait you by pushing your buttons in court, at your child exchanges, or in meetings? Don’t rise to the bait. Keep your cool and you’ll move on and be happier sooner.
- Try not to obsess. Your divorce is a huge part of your life and a big transition. But it’s not your whole life. Spend some time on the things that make you happy and help you to get over the trauma of divorce. See a therapist. Spend time with friends. Find hobbies that make you happy. The more you move on, the more you move on and can get through the process.
What helped you through your divorce?