Getting a divorce is considered the second most stressful life event after the death of a loved one. The pressure of facing the end of a marriage—along with juggling parenting duties and a job—can make some people end up doing and saying things they’ll later regret.
As tempting as it is to let emotions get the best of you in a divorce, your behavior can hurt your outcome as well as your children’s. Here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind as you move through the divorce progress.
Do Hire a Good Divorce Lawyer
Divorce is not just painful; it can also be expensive. Divorce lawyers usually charge a minimum of $75 per hour and the actual trial can cost thousands.
So don’t hire the first divorce lawyer you see advertised; ask around for recommendations and check reviews and testimonials. You want a lawyer who has your best interests in mind and who will fight for what is rightfully yours legally.
Don’t Bash Your Spouse on Social Media
Although you make think that bashing your spouse on Facebook during a divorce may be therapeutic, it may not be the best idea. Assume that anything you say on social media can be seen and used against you in court. Your behavior can tilt the court’s favor and sympathy to that of your former spouse.
You may want to avoid posting any personal information altogether and mentions of large purchases until your divorce is final. Sometimes taking a break from using social media until after the divorce is the safest way to handle your social media accounts. Find out how social media usage can impact your divorce’s outcome.
Do Follow Court Instructions
If the court is asking you for information—for example, a plan about how you and your ex will juggle parenting duties—always follow through and provide the requested information to the judge or your lawyer in a timely manner. Doing so shows the court you’re taking the divorce proceedings seriously. It may also help your divorce case progress faster towards finalization.
Another tip: dress professionally and always show up on time for court appearances. Conduct yourself professionally in court to make a positive impression on the judge.
Don’t Use Your Kids to Manipulate Your Spouse
It’s very common for divorcing couples to use their children to hurt or manipulate the other spouse. However, children are the most innocent victims of divorce and shouldn’t be used as pawns to get your way.
You should also avoid badmouthing your former spouse in front of your kids. Bite your tongue and save your frustrations for private get-togethers with your friends or other family members.
Your children should be allowed to form their own opinions of both their parents as they mature into adults.
Do Keep Thorough Financial Records
Your lifestyle is likely to change in a divorce; you may need to find new housing and a higher paying job.
Keep thorough financial and spending records so that you’ll receive payment for what you’re entitled to from your spouse. Being able to produce receipts and bank statements promptly will help the divorce get finalized sooner.
Don’t Begin a New Relationship Right Away
Finding yourself suddenly alone after years of living with a partner can make you feel lonely and incomplete. You may be tempted to create an online dating profile to see what you’ve been missing in the singles scene and to ease the loneliness before the divorce papers have dried.
Well, don’t. This is the worst time to get involved in a new relationship because you’re not ready for one and that’s unfair to anyone you date.
You need time to heal and to learn from your own mistakes that contributed to the end of the relationship. Children are especially vulnerable during a divorce, and the last thing they need to deal with during this sad and confusing time is introducing them to a potential new partner.
It takes a long time to heal from the emotional upheaval of a divorce. Wait until you’ve forgiven your partner—and yourself—before you jump into the dating scene.
Do Be Good To Yourself
It’s important to keep up with self-care and self-love when going through a divorce. Make time for a workout or yoga session to help ease some of the stress. Eat a healthy, balanced diet, get plenty of sleep, and if you have the extra money, book a massage or a relaxing spa treatment.
Go out with friends where you can vent about your frustrations away from the kids and enjoy some socialization. Seek therapy to discuss your divorce if you think it will help you process your feelings and move on.
Don’t Stalk Or Threaten Your Spouse
It goes without saying that you need to respect your spouse’s new life and not do anything that will compromise your guardianship of your kids or your side in court. Following your spouse or threatening them can be used against you. Work with your spouse and communicate fairly to come to agreements so you can both put the divorce behind you as quickly as possible.
Know How to Behave Properly In A Divorce
Knowing how to conduct yourself professionally in a divorce will lead to a cleaner split and less stress for all parties involved including children. Although divorce can be a painful time in one’s life, just remember that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and you will move on with your life.
Check out our family life posts to learn how to help your children feel loved and blameless during and after a divorce.