No one likes to think, when entering into a marriage, that it will at some point come to an unhappy ending. Along the way many couples realize that the marriage is no longer working. Some are able to work together to bring their marriage to a smooth ending.
However, most often that is not the case, and when one party says that he or she wants to end the marriage, the other party is devastated and the roller coaster ride starts.
The first thing that you must do is to meet with an attorney who handles matrimonial cases on a daily basis. It is imperative that you be informed about your rights and obligations under the law, taking into account the relevant facts from your marriage. An attorney who focuses on this area of law will be able to alert you to the pitfalls you may encounter. He or she will be able to guide you through the process.
After years of experience handling matrimonial cases I have been able to give practical suggestions to clients and prospective clients to help them get through this period in their lives.
Think about your financial future. Will you need more schooling? Should you seek different employment? What expenses will you be responsible for paying after your divorce? Will you have enough assets and income to meet those expenses? There are many resources to guide you. You most likely will want to meet with a financial consultant.
If you feel the need, meet with a psychologist, social worker or clergy person to obtain guidance about how to handle the emotional aspects of the breakup of your marriage. No matter how strong an individual you are, it is extremely difficult to make it through a divorce without experiencing emotional impacts. You need to think clearly and rationally, not emotionally, although that is simpler to say than to do.
You also need to take physical care of yourself. Do your best to eat well, and try to get enough exercise. Sleep is also very important. By eating well, sleeping as well as you can and exercising you will be better able to navigate your divorce and the emotional swings that are normal in this process. Meditation and yoga will also help relieve the tensions that inevitably occur.
Renewing old friendships or finding new ones will help you cope with the loneliness that may very well come from the end of your marriage. You may want to investigate whether there are community organizations that would welcome your skills and assistance. In the company of others who share your interests, you can find enjoyment and meet new friends.
In addition to things you should do, there are things you should not do as you go through a divorce. First and foremost, do not post your thoughts or feelings about your spouse or any other person with whom he or she is involved on social media.
In addition, never say never. Try to keep an open mind and explore alternatives that become available to you. This is a time to discover and exercise your choices.
Do not involve your minor children in your marital problems. Your children love both parents and the breakup of your marriage is traumatic enough for them without sharing your problems.
Beware taking advice from well-meaning friends and relatives. Their experience doesn’t necessarily translate to your experience. There are plenty of “war stories” out there. However, each case is different and what may have worked for somebody else, might not be applicable to you.
Do not think that your world is coming to an end. It may feel that way at times, but you will survive. There are better days ahead and you will get there.
Leonard Klein, the author of this post, is a matrimonial lawyer at Lazar Schwartz & Jones, LLP.