You’re facing a divorce. And no matter how you and your spouse got to this point, divorce is difficult. What matters now is going through the process of divorce while retaining your self-respect, so that you can peaceably move forward with your lives once the divorce is final.
What is Divorce with Dignity?
At Christine M. Howard, we call this “Divorce with Dignity.” It’s one of our core values. Our legal team has seen the messy battles between divorcing spouses and have witnessed the damaging toll that prolonged legal fights in court have on the couple and their families. It’s stressful – emotionally, physically and financially.
Divorcing with dignity is possible when you choose a no-fault divorce. A no-fault divorce allows one spouse to file for divorce without blaming the other spouse for the broken marriage. It is easier to obtain, and because there is no public blame for the divorce, the negative feelings between divorcing spouses is often reduced.
Still, navigating a divorce – even a divorce with dignity – can be hard. Here are some self-care tips to help you get through it.
Give Yourself Permission to Grieve
Mental health experts will tell you that the pain you feel while going through a divorce is similar to grieving the death of a loved one. So give yourself a break and allow yourself to grieve. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross says the “five stages of grief” are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. You may not stop at every stage of grief, and they might not happen in that order. But allow yourself to walk through it. And don’t be afraid to enlist the help of a mental health professional to walk beside you, if/when necessary.
Get a Support Network
In the beginning, the listening ear of a supportive friend or family member may help you cope, but calls to that person at all hours of the day can put a strain on even the best relationships. Consider enlarging your support group to include a counselor, a therapist, a life support coach, or a divorce recovery group. In addition to hearing you out, these resources can also give sound guidance based on their experience in helping others to move toward wholeness.
Make a Plan
Divorce can make you feel like your life is out of control, especially if ending the marriage wasn’t your choice. To gain back a sense of control, you need to make a plan. This isn’t the time to plan out the rest of your life, but you can make plans for the next week. Map out what you want to achieve in the coming week (or on those really rough days, just what you hope to achieve tomorrow), then give yourself a pat on the back as you check things off the list.
Divorce can make you fearful, and much of this fear comes from a lack of information. Financial and legal concerns are usually high on the list of stressors, so it’s important to meet with a financial planner or advisor to help you with budgeting, and an experienced divorce lawyer to help you understand your legal options and prepare you for what’s ahead.