Nobody plans to end their marriage in divorce, but life never goes as planned either. Even mutually agreed upon divorces can be hard and take a toll. And they can be especially difficult when children are involved. The worry of what to do next, how to transition, and how to help your children make the transition as well can be draining and exhausting.
When going through a divorce, there are a number of things you can do that will help the transition go more smoothly. Although there will still be tough days and painful moments, a smoother transition can make the entire process a little bit easier to get through. Here are ten things you can do for a smoother transition from divorce.
- Know you’re not alone. Divorce can be scary and stressful and all sorts of other things and you may feel like you’re going through it all alone. Although you might feel isolated, with the divorce rate somewhere between 30 and 40 percent , there are a lot of other people who have gone through something similar to you. Talking about your divorce (in a healthy way) with your friends and family members who have been divorced, or even in groups on social media or with a therapist can help you get the emotional support you need from people who have been in a similar situation.
- Make a budget. After you’ve made the decision to divorce, you’ll need to prepare for the changes to come. One way to be prepared for when a divorce becomes final is to budget. Make a few different budgets – one that includes child support, one that only includes your income, etc. – and get a good idea of what you can afford and what kind of changes you’ll need to make in order to be as comfortable and prepared as possible.
- Decide on living arrangements. Whether you’ve been separated, plan to separate, or plan to cohabitate up until the time of the divorce, you’ll need to need to decide on and secure permanent living arrangements for when everything goes through. Preparing ahead of time and deciding where you’ll live when all is said and done is a great way to help things go more smoothly. Having arrangements in place will take some of the stress off.
- Become more independent. Picking up new hobbies or going back to old ones, running errands on your own, taking your kids to events by yourself, and reconnecting with old friends are all great ways to work on becoming more independent. Transitioning toward a single life will help make the transition go more smoothly and ease you into the new life you’ll have after your divorce.
- Communicate and cooperate. When negotiating terms, it’s important to communicate what it is that you want and what your expectations are. This could help the settlement process to go much more smoothly if you’re able to come to an agreement. Although you may not want to agree to all terms that the other presents, try to cooperate and compromise. Unfortunately, some spouses may not be willing to reach an agreement and may fight for what you’ve asked for, but being as communicative and cooperative as possible will go a long way towards helping the process go more smoothly.
- Give kids advanced notice. When kids are given advance notice, they are able to better adjust, and when kids are able to better adjust, things will go more smoothly. Try and break the news of the divorce to your children together and give them notice about moving or one spouse moving out as far in advance as you can. This will give them the opportunity to process what’s to come and begin adjusting rather than being shocked when a parent moves out over night or being told they have to move within just a few days.
- Keep conflict away from the kids. Conflict doesn’t just affect you and your spouse – it has an effect on your children too. Although divorce is hard and emotional and can get very heated and messy, keeping the conflict away from the kids will help them better adjust to the new life ahead of them and will help them feel less turmoil and stress.
- Try and look on the bright side. It may sound cliché, but looking on the bright side can really help the transition from divorce go more smoothly. Think about the opportunity you have to start over and build a new life the way you want it to be. Maybe you have the chance to move to a new city that you’ve always wanted to live in or maybe you’re just excited to be able to spend more time with your friends again. Looking at the positive aspects, as difficult as they may be to find sometimes, can make a big difference.Additionally, although it may be difficult to do, it’s also important to avoid bashing your ex. You shouldn’t bottle up your emotions and it’s okay to express your hurt and frustration, but going to each of your friends and family members, constantly tearing your ex down will only cultivate negativity that can affect you long after the divorce is over.
- Have confidence in yourself. Divorce is scary because it brings change and uncertainty and it’s okay to be scared, but you need to know that you can do it. Have confidence that you can make it through and everything will be okay in time. You’ve been through hard things before and although those hard things may not have been a divorce, you made it through and you became stronger and you’ll be able to do the same again. You’re stronger and more capable than you think and having confidence in that and yourself will help the transition go more smoothly.
- Be patient with yourself. As frustrating as it is, sometimes time is the only thing that can take away hurt and pain. You can’t just choose a day to stop being angry or sad – it happens naturally as you assimilate to your new life, grow, and work on the new version of yourself. It’s okay to have bad days and it’s okay to break down every now and then. Don’t be upset with yourself, be patient. Just take it all one step at a time.
What is some of the best advice you’ve received so far that is helping make your transition smoother?