Did you know that divorce is the second most stressful life event according to the Holmes-Rahe Life Stress Inventory?
It’s no wonder. Between figuring out your new financial and social situation, deciding how to handle custody of your children, and finding a new place to live there’s a lot to think about. Not to mention, divorces are notorious for being ugly emotional affairs.
But there are plenty of ways to lessen the impact of your divorce and make the whole thing more amicable.
Let’s explore some tips for having a peaceful separation here.
1. Be Respectful
Emotions often run high during a divorce. This is especially true when the split is over infidelity or addiction.
Snide comments or knee-jerk responses will only add flame to the fire. If both parties can treat each other with respect, the proceedings will go much more peacefully.
2. Look for Common Ground
It might feel hard to see eye to eye with someone when you’re in this situation. However, most people can find something they are both willing to work towards.
For example, both may want to put the best interests of the children first. Or perhaps both would rather settle out of court to avoid a drawn-out battle and the expensive legal fees that come with it.
3. Maintain Realistic Expectations
Don’t start divorce proceedings mapping out your plan to get everything. That mindset will only drive you to fight tooth and nail over every little thing.
Instead, set realistic expectations about what you should walk away with and know that you may need to make some concessions to keep the peace.
4. Be Reasonable
Be calm and reasonable. The first two tips work best if both parties are striving for them, but you can only control you. Your spouse may not be respectful and may have no desire to look for common ground to keep things peaceful.
In that case, be as reasonable as possible. It takes two to fight. Try not to let your spouse’s potshots get to you. Agree to some things they want while maintaining a reasonable idea of the things you should get.
5. Agree to Full Financial Disclosure
Both spouses should provide full financial disclosure to keep things peaceful. It is common for one spouse to handle more of the finances than the other. This leaves the one with less knowledge of the finances, wondering if the other is hiding assets or under-reporting savings account balances.
You don’t have to like your spouse, but you have to trust them to have a peaceful separation. You may not agree on how to split things, but the free exchange of information is the best place to start.
6. Hire the Right Lawyer
Many couples succeed at keeping their divorce out of court. But even those who don’t go to court often hire a lawyer to at least talk over options and get legal advice.
When choosing a lawyer, choose one who understands your goals of having a peaceful separation. Some lawyers are far too quick to whip you up into a battle frenzy and take things too far. However, you don’t want a pushover lawyer either. Choose one who will be respectful but firm if things escalate.
Check out this website for more tips on choosing the right lawyer.
7. See a Counselor
It’s not a bad idea to see a counselor or therapist if you are facing divorce. Some couples find that they can even avoid divorce by seeing a counselor together.
But even if your goal is not to repair your relationship, it can be a good idea to see one on your own. Divorce is a big deal and your mental health can suffer.
Some people feel the need to falsely keep it together. They may want to shield their children from the effects as much as possible or want everyone to think they are fine.
Having a safe person to talk to can be tremendously helpful for releasing pent-up emotions.
8. Avoid Alcohol
A glass of wine here and there is not a problem. But if you turn to several glasses every night, slow down.
Alcohol can numb the sting in the present moment but it doesn’t do one thing for helping you heal. Instead, it can give you a false sense of handling your feelings — only for them to explode out of you, usually at the most inopportune moment.
Instead, see a counselor and do your best to get enough sleep and relaxation time. Healthy self-care like taking a relaxing bath or doing a calming yoga routine is far more helpful than alcohol.
9. Don’t Punish Your Spouse
It’s normal to want the other person to pay. It’s easy to feel that things would have worked out if only they would have done such-and-such.
The past is in the past. Whatever decisions or actions brought you to this point have happened and can’t be changed. Don’t put all the blame for the failure of your marriage on your spouse. Both parties nearly always hold at least some portion of the blame.
Don’t punish your spouse by getting more financial assets or “winning” more time with your kids. That kind of thinking will turn your peaceful separation into an all-out war real quick.
A Peaceful Separation Is Possible
Though it may seem counterintuitive, it’s possible to have a peaceful separation. There’s no reason your divorce has to turn into a drawn-out court battle. Things didn’t work out the way you planned, but now you are each free to go your own way and try something new.
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