What Makes a Successful Divorce?
1. Know what you want.
Going through a divorce is never easy. But unless you know what you want, and what’s important to you, you don’t stand as much of a chance of getting it.
2. Know what you need.
Take stock of your emotions, your finances, and your family. If you are an emotional wreck, you can’t stop crying, and you can’t think straight, realize that you need support. If you have no idea how to go about getting divorced, or what your rights and responsibilities in a divorce may be, talk to a lawyer. If you don’t know how much money you are going to need to survive after your divorce, start getting the information you need to figure it out. If you are financially illiterate, never paid a bill, never did a budget, and don’t know anything about how finances work, educate yourself! If your children are floundering in school, or start acting out, recognize that they, too, may need some help right now. Remember that the first step in solving any problem is knowing that it exists. So, take a good, hard, honest look at where you are at, then try to determine what it is that you need.
3. Know what you have.
You can’t divide what you don’t know exists. You have to know how much money you have, how much money you owe, and what your monthly income and expenses are. You have to know what your house is worth, what your cars are worth, and how much money is in your retirement fund. You have to know the total amount that is due on each and every loan, mortgage, and credit card bill. If you don’t have this information, then you need to figure out how to get it. Period.
4. Know what is possible.
You may want to walk out of your marriage with the house, the cars, the kids, and lifetime support, but it is highly unlikely that you will get everything and your spouse will get nothing. Life doesn’t work that way, and neither does divorce. So, you have to know what the divorce law is in your state, and how the judges in your area interpret and apply that law. You have to know what you are likely to get, and what you will probably have to pay. You have to know whether you will be able to refinance your house. You must be realistic about your situation, and about your future.
5. Take responsibility for yourself, your life, and your divorce.
You may have thought that getting divorced was something that would never happen to you. You may have been lied to, cheated on, and taken advantage of. You may not want to get divorced. Unfortunately, none of that matters. What does matter is that, now that you are in this situation, that you take responsibility for yourself and your future. If you choose to do so, you can wallow in self-pity and make yourself a victim forever. You can blame your spouse for every bad thing that is happening to you, and that continues to happen to you for the rest of your life. Or, you can get the help you need to put your life back together, start new, and get stronger. Its your choice.
6. Control what you can, and let go of what you can’t.
Understand that you can’t control your spouse’s behavior. If you could, you probably wouldn’t be getting divorced. You can’t control the judge, or the court system. If you fight with your spouse in court, count on the fact that your divorce is going to take longer and cost more than you want. Even if you don’t fight in court, your divorce is still likely to take longer and cost more than you want. Do what you can to control what you can. But, understand that there is a lot that you simply can’t control. Your entire life is likely filled with uncertainty right now. The one thing, the only thing, that you can really control is yourself. Do your best to do that.
7. Do your absolute best, then let go and move on.
Be kind to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up if you find yourself doing stupid things, or being irrational from time to time. It happens. Know, too, that karma exists. What goes around, comes around. Always take the high road, even if it is not the most comfortable way to go. If your spouse chooses another path, understand that that is your spouse’s decision. Know, too, that every choice has consequences. You may never see the results of your spouse’s decisions, but your spouse will. That may not be much comfort to you right now. But, someday, when all of this is behind you, you may not care.