What to do
If you’re thinking about divorce
Unless you fail to make the turn.” – Helen Keller
Steps to consider:
Think things through beforehand.
Be kind to yourself.
Expect mixed feelings
Consider the process carefully.
No matter how you handle your divorce, the destination is pretty much the same. How you choose to get there is entirely up to you. Take the time to make the choice that best reflects your own goals and desires for the divorce process and the life you wish to create.
Don’t wing it.
Consider how you will deliver the news to those who matter most and will be most impacted by the decision. Plan and practice telling your spouse, family, friends and children. People may have very strong reactions which can range from wild optimism to feelings of anger and betrayal. Understand that people will process the news differently and that even well-intentioned concern can take many forms.
It’s important to prepare yourself for their reactions. Visualizing (and even practicing in front of a mirror) how you will handle their varying responses can help you remain calm.
Do your homework, but expect inconsistent advice.
Contact mediators or lawyers to get their perspective. Consider that the type of process each lawyer practices will inform the advice they give. So you will hear different suggestions about how to proceed from a collaborative lawyer than you will from a litigator. Expect the advice to match their discipline. I am reminded of the saying “when the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”. Before you act though, consider what proposed actions feel consistent with your own values.
Talk to people who have gone through divorce if you think that will help. Learn from their experiences and differing perspectives. But expect a broad range of opinions. Everyone has their own experiences and has heard their own horror stories.
Making sense of the conflicting information will be challenging and will require a certain degree of detached and critical thought. Beware of information overload and trust that you know best what makes sense for your unique situation. Ultimately, the right answer for you won’t be found “out there” but “in here.”
Build your support network.
Seek professional advice.
Take stock and prepare for the future.
If you have children, try to avoid exposing them to parental conflict
How do you know when it's time?
The question of whether to divorce or not can feel paralyzing in its enormity. But not deciding is a decision in itself.