Accepting the Enormous Amounts of Uncertainty During Every Divorce
Written by: Megan Dell
No one gets married with a plan to divorce later. People build their lives around being married, and when their marriage ends, often they feel overwhelmed by the changes related to divorce. Whether you are ready to file for divorce right now, or in the process of legal separation, it’s quite normal to feel anxious, scared and even lonely. Feelings of uncertainty during every divorce are perfectly normal.
Reasons People Feel Worried During Divorce
Once it is clear your marriage is over, you might feel like you are unable to make decisions about your future because so much is uncertain. People like to feel in control of their futures, and divorce disrupts future plans and creates feelings of anxiety.
It is common to wonder:
- Will I have to move to a new home?
- How will my finances be affected?
- What financial records will I need to prepare?
- How will I afford to live?
- Will I be eligible for spousal support?
- How much is my lifestyle going to change?
- Will I be stuck with debts I can’t afford to pay?
- Will my retirement savings be depleted in the divorce?
- Will I ever be able to love someone again?
- Will my spouse and I be able to agree on a child custody arrangement?
- How much child support will I receive?
- How quickly can I start dating?
- How long will the legal divorce process take?
- How much will I have to see my spouse during our divorce?
- Will my spouse still try to control me?
- How expensive will getting divorced be?
You probably have a million other questions too. Though no one can make it easy to get divorced, there are ways to feel more certain about your future.
5 Ways to Manage Uncertainty During Divorce
To avoid feeling overwhelmed by all of the uncertainty created by divorce, try these strategies:
1 Recognize, and accept, what is within your control.
You cannot control statutory waiting periods for divorce. You cannot control how quickly the divorce process moves forward, but you can control how quickly you respond to your lawyer and provide necessary documents. You can control being organized and prepared with requested information.
You cannot force your spouse to accept a settlement proposal they disagree with. You can tell your lawyer about your spouse’s values and develop proposals with those values in mind.
You cannot control how your spouse acts or what the Family Court judge does. You can control your own behavior. You can identify your feelings and work through them in productive ways.
2 Take care of yourself.
Divorce is stressful, but it is not more important than taking care of yourself. You matter! Focus on getting enough sleep, eating nutritious foods and drinks, and moving your body regularly. Spend time doing things you like with people you love.
Doing these basics will better equip you to manage the stress of divorce. They will also keep you from becoming so focused on the details of your divorce that you lose perspective.
3 Hire experienced professionals to help.
Hiring an experienced divorce lawyer should be a top priority. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may also need to hire experts to help prepare for Family Court. If your emotions about getting divorced are debilitating or simply too much to manage, you should seek the support of a trained mental health professional.
4 Dream and then develop tentative plans.
While you are working through the legal process of divorce, there is no reason you can’t fantasize about what your perfect post-divorce life might look like. Divorce can be a new beginning and an opportunity to pursue goals you had set aside. Figure out what matters to you and start outlining plans for your ideal life after the divorce is granted.
5 Use your plans to navigate the legal process.
As you decide what you want for your future, use those goals to set priorities in your divorce case. For example, if you want to relocate to Montana after the divorce, there is no reason to refuse your spouse’s request to keep the former marital home.
As you identify your priorities, communicate them to your divorce lawyer so they can be part of your divorce strategy.
Remember: You Are Not Alone
Because marriage affects our finances, our emotions, and our individual wellbeing, worrying about how divorce will affect you is perfectly normal. There are lots of people who have been through the divorce process and come out better – and stronger – on the other side. Keep them in mind as you manage your own divorce.