05 Nov The RIGHT Priorities In a Divorce
Divorces can be stressful – and that’s putting it lightly. Going through a divorce can feel like being trapped in a hurricane – everything is happening at once, with problems coming at you from all sides, and you simply don’t know how to deal with them all. There are issues of attorney fees, custody battles, alimony, child support, visitation rights, and then there are the arguments with your ex. All of these then put you under an extraordinary amount of stress, which shows in your work life, your health, and your personal relationships.
However, the important thing to keep in mind is that divorce doesn’t have to be like a hurricane: you can have control over what is happening in your life, and you can tackle the problems facing you and emerge stronger than you were before. Before you can do this, however, you need to stop, take a deep breath, and step back from the issues you are facing: taking the time to relax and gain an objective perspective can prove invaluable later on. Then, once you are able to organize yourself and think clearly, it’s time to prioritize: think about what matters to you and what you should take care of urgently.
It is important, furthermore, not only to prioritize, but to have the RIGHT priorities. Although, in the moment, it may seem important to boost your ego by engaging in unnecessary arguments or hold on to as much money as possible, ultimately these are not priorities that will cause you lasting happiness. Instead, think about the following four aspects of your life as the most important factors to consider, and remember to keep your priorities right during a divorce.
Making sure your children receive the best treatment possible should always be your first priority, because they are ultimately innocent and need to be protected. Although you and your spouse clearly have your differences, it is crucial to keep in mind that your children did not intend to cause these disagreements, even if they are the reason you and your spouse divorced in the first place. Furthermore, children are extremely impressionable, and the divorce of their parents is already a difficult enough issue for them; further complications will only leave a lasting negative impact, possibly damaging their interpersonal relationships later in life. Ultimately, your children should be the ones that you protect because they are the ones that have the most to lose through the divorce process.
To care for your children during a divorce, make sure not to argue with your spouse (or anyone else) around them – instead, explain the situation calmly but empathetically, making sure to answer their questions to the best of your ability and assuring them that you will love them no matter what. Do your best to avoid any major disruptions other than the obvious necessity of split custody – if possible, try to maintain their previous routine to the best of your ability, at least while they are in your custody. And most importantly, never try to turn them against your spouse, no matter how angry you are – this will only confuse and upset them, and damage their capability to trust and communicate.
Although there may be necessities such as alimony and child support payments, do your best to protect your assets during a divorce. You may not need to worry about giving up part of your monthly paycheck, but keeping those long-term investments that will support you, in the long run, is important. This will become an important priority during court proceedings.
You may be bitterly angry at your ex, but ultimately, remember that he or she is going through the same process you are – so even if you can’t forgive each other, do your best to have at least a civil relationship. You still have to communicate (over child custody and other issues), so try to be cordial and understanding.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but sometimes, in order to care for others (from your children to your ex), you first need to care for yourself. The stress brought on by divorce can easily cause health problems, from insomnia to susceptibility to illnesses (such as the flu) to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. When you open yourself up to these issues, you will start to see the effects in your work performance, your relationships with friends and family, and your own well-being. It is crucial to take care of yourself by eating well and regularly, getting enough sleep, and avoiding excessive alcohol consumption and drug use. Do your best to de-stress by taking the time to do activities that you enjoy, as well as those that can help you relax, such as yoga and meditation. Ultimately, you will see that the stress of a divorce isn’t so unmanageable after all, and that you can come out of the ordeal with your health, your relationships, and your assets intact.