Divorce Isn’t a Game: Adulting During a Marital Split

No one goes into divorce thinking it will be a fun experience. Still, there’s a difference between approaching your divorce calmly instead of emotionally. Your attitude toward the marital dissolution process can significantly impact its length and outcome.

If you go into your divorce looking for a fight, that’s what you’ll get. On the other hand, if you’re prepared to approach the process calmly and professionally, you may be able to keep things civil and wrap everything up quickly. Here’s what you need to know about the emotional stress of divorce and how you can keep it from dragging things out.

The Emotional Impact of Divorce

There are three fundamental roles you may play during your separation. In the first and most ideal situation, you and your spouse agree that a divorce is necessary and decide to separate together. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen.

The other two roles are more complicated. When one spouse unilaterally decides to file for divorce, it often leaves the other partner upset and off-balance. Whether you’re the partner who was so tired of the relationship that you decided on divorce, or you were blind-sided by your partner’s choice to file, one-sided decisions are emotionally complex.

It’s easy to feel adversarial in these splits. You may feel angry, vindictive, or desperate. The problem is that none of these emotions are helpful if you’re trying to make good long-term decisions. They can lead you to argue about things just to hurt your partner or make concessions to try and win them back.

Even in the most amicable divorces, you can still feel upset with your former partner or want to “win” the split. If you want to make good choices for your future, you can’t let those emotions succeed. Instead, you should try to approach the process objectively.

Tips for Keeping Emotions Out of Your Divorce

It is possible to keep your emotions from negatively impacting your divorce. It just takes planning and a little help. These four tips can help you keep things civil and help you get through the process with as little drama as possible.

1. Don’t Communicate with Your Ex Outside of Professional Settings

You’ve probably spent years talking to your soon-to-be ex-partner in private. It’s a habit for you to try to hash out disagreements behind closed doors or through private methods of communication. While you’re happily married, this is a good strategy, but it stops working once you’ve decided to end things.

Talking to your ex in private is a good way to repeat old, bad habits. You’ll start to fall into the same arguments you had before you decided to split. Now, though, these fights will be fueled by even more negative emotions. That’s a recipe for disaster.

Instead, keep things public and professional. Avoid calling, messaging, or meeting up with your spouse in private if you think an argument is likely. Either talk to them in a scheduled meeting with your legal representation or don’t talk to them at all. That will help keep tempers calm and avoid either one of you making emotional decisions.

2. Focus on the Present

It may seem counter-intuitive, but the best way to make good decisions for the future is to focus on the present during your split. This means doing two things.

First, don’t think about the past, including any reasons for your divorce or complaints you may have about your partner’s actions. You’re separating to resolve those issues, so the specifics aren’t relevant. They’ll only encourage emotional thinking and potentially blind you to better choices.

Second, don’t overthink about the future. Take the time you need to build a plan for your personal future, then stop worrying about things you can’t control. Instead, pay attention to the daily responsibilities that will help you reach that future. This will help you avoid making choices purely out of fear.

3. Consider Working with a Counselor

Counselors are trained to help people handle overwhelming emotions. Working with a counselor is an excellent way to understand and respond to your feelings in a calm and collected manner.

Depending on your needs, you can work with a counselor individually or with your spouse. Couples’ counseling can be an effective way to resolve disputes with your partner that will make it hard to have a non-combative relationship in the future. If you have kids or share a business, couples’ counseling may be helpful. Otherwise, attending counseling on your own can help you process emotions and understand what you genuinely want, letting you make better decisions overall.

4. Work with Your Attorney

Your lawyer is your best resource for managing your separation professionally. Good divorce lawyers have experience handling all sorts of splits. If you approach your attorney and let them know you’re concerned about emotions impacting your choices, they can offer you solutions to help you stay calm.

For example, you don’t necessarily need to meet directly with your spouse to negotiate the division of assets. Instead, you may be able to meet with your lawyer, discuss your preferences, and have them negotiate on your behalf. Similarly, they can help you avoid unnecessary meetings and offer suggestions on responding to your ex’s demands. Your attorney can be objective on your behalf. Use that objectivity to your advantage and let your lawyer help you make choices with your future in mind.

Keep Your Divorce Professional with Expert Assistance

There are a few things you can do to make yourself more professional about your divorce, but it’s impossible to be entirely objective. That’s why working with the right professionals is so important. An experienced divorce attorney can help you stay civil during your split.

You can start handling your split in a civil manner by getting in touch with a qualified divorce lawyer. Schedule your consultation to discuss your case and plan your next steps. There’s no reason to let your emotions fester any longer. Get started today, and you’ll be able to make better decisions and move on more quickly.

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Kaspar & Lugay, LLP is a family law firm with offices in Corte Madera, CA; Napa, CA; Walnut Creek, CA; and San Diego, CA. We also represent clients in San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, Pismo Beach, Contra Costa County, and Los Angeles.