Divorce seems simple enough- you divide the assets, figure out the best way to raise the kids together- but separately, sign the papers and move on right? Divorce may be simple from the attorney’s perspective, but it’s rarely easy! That’s why we need so much help in divorce. It is a long and emotionally complicated process. Here are ten things NOT to do that are guaranteed to make it easier.
Dont Have Sex With Your Ex!
A super common problem, especially when people are cohabitating during the divorce, is to have sex with one another. This is a biggee on the list of things NOT to do when you divorce. It may seem ridiculous given how angry you feel now, but believe it or not, it does happen. You are both super lonely, probably sleeping in separate rooms. In a moment of weakness, one of you approaches the other, and he/she caves. It might be angry sex, might be intimate. In the long run, it’s a disaster in terms of building trust and working towards a new relationship. For that matter, do not get pregnant- not by anyone. In some states, the child can be considered your ex’s child as much as 300 days after the divorce.
Don’t Ignore Your Legal Documents
You want to go through ALL your legal documents and make sure they are pointed int he right direction. Start with your bank accounts. Make sure they exclude your ex. Change your will. Make sure your phone is completely separate. Change your passwords. Set as many boundaries legally as possible.
Don’t Dismiss Alternatives to Litigation
Alternatives to litigation are collaborative divorce and mediation. These alternatives will cost you less and take less time. When the courts are backed up (as they are in the pandemic) you will move your divorce much faster and farther with these alternatives.
Don’t Get Too Personal With Your Lawyer
It’s good when you feel can trust and confide in your attorney. However, there will inevitably be things you will start talking to your attorney about that really you should be taking to a divorce coach and/or a therapist. Even if your attorney happens to be one of the rare ones who can help with the emotional, the fact is you are paying them way more than a therapist or a coach. You want to avoid being emotionally intimate with your attorney, they work in the field of law. By no means have sex with your attorney. This is crossing a line for both of you that is inappropriate and destructive of your work together.
Don’t Put The Kids In The Middle
Even on your best days, you will be tempted to speak badly of your e in front of the kids. You will at some point be tempted to use the kids as messengers, after all, you and your ex only fight when you talk anyway? Absolutely do not give in to either of these temptations. Your kids have their own cross to bear in the divorce process. What they need is your unconditional love and support. Keep them out of the middle at all costs!
Do Not Refuse Coaching or Therapy (Get help in divorce)
Divorce is the second-highest personal stressor after death of a loved one with moving being number three. Often in a divorce, you all get to move as well. Divorce is no longer stigmatizing, but make no mistake it is a HUGE emotional disturbance to everyone in the family. GET HELP in divorce! Start with a divorce group for something really simple. These will be less expensive and help end the sense of isolation. Reach out for more help if the group is not filling all of your needs. The purpose of getting help is the release of blame and anger so that you can focus on the kids and the future. Moving forward with the legal process without moving forward emotionally is what leads to long legal battles and /or returning to court later on.
If you know the marriage is no good do not wait. Don’t wait for the holidays. Not for school to end. Not for better or worse financial status. Make the move. At lest get yourself someone to talk to you about it if you are really ambivalent. That ambivalence is shining through to everything and everyone around you. Tae the first step towards resolution now.
Don’t Forget To File A Tax Return
One of the first things to get clear on is how and when to file taxes. The government does not care that you are getting divorced. They want those taxes and they are happy to penalize you if you don’t file in a timely manner. Since divorce can take a year or more, you will want to make a decision about whether you are filing together or separately. Filing together will yield more tax savings and some discussion about who pays what to how to cut up the return if there is one. You are not reconciling just because you file together. Agreeing on this matter may feel like reconciling, but it is not. Get help in divorce. Turn to your attorneys and or financial planner to figure out the best way to file on time during the divorce.
Don’t Settle Without Checking The Boxes
If you are going to have a working relationship with the other parent post divorce, you will want to be super clear as to what you are letting go of and why so that you don’t feel screwed later on. That’s why you will want to dig deep into yourself, your dreams and your new future before you settle.
In order to reach an agreement that you feel good about, you need to do a full review of your finances, your values, priorities, and where you want to move in your life as the divorce comes to an end. The inclination for some will be to just settle and get it over with.
Don’t Go Deeper Into Debt
When getting divorced, you may be tempted to lean into your credit cards. Especially if you have joint cards and you see your ex charging up a storm. In most states, assets are divided from the point that diovrce is served so don’t worry so much about the other person.
Every dollar you are spending during the process is your kids’ future. It might be their college funds your spending. Could be your own retirement money. Avoid stacking up debt if at all possible. The last thing you want to handle post divorce is paying down debts.
Managing our emotions is the key to a shorter, less expensive and less stressful divorce. There are many things NOT to do when you divorce. Avoiding the “DON’TS” will help keep the stress down in a major way. Get help in divorce. Look for more healthy ways to release stress and stay on track in your divorce.