Get a therapist. You are going to be an emotional train wreck for a while. Even if you don’t think you are, you will be; if only for a minute. Therapy can be short term and will help you deal with your emotions and think clearly and make realistic, formulated decisions. Many employers offer short-term therapy for four to six sessions. Utah also has a confidential, free, 24/7 crisis hotline: 801-691-LIFE.
Don’t use your attorney as your therapist. Attorneys are trained to filter through the emotion of a problem and find the best legal solution possible for their client. Attorneys also charge more than therapists, so consider your economics. That being said, a good attorney will always have a tissue ready and be understanding about the hardships you are facing.
Be careful who you listen to. Your friends, neighbors, and family will all have advice about how to interact with your ex-spouse, your attorney, the court, and your children. These opinions are commonly not objective and may not take into account the legal proceedings and limitations to filing and settling a divorce.
Prepare an elevator speech about your divorce. Discussing your divorce will be hard and inevitably come up with friends, family, and coworkers. By having some sort of script to answer questions, there is less of a chance of a breakdown or awkward moments.
Prioritize your kids. Children know what is going on before parents “have the talk” about divorce. Do not talk about the other parent when with the kids. Do not use parenting time against the other parent. Try to be amicable with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. It will save on legal costs, emotional costs, social costs, and help your kids through the transition of divorce.
Don’t give in just because you want to be done with the process. Divorces take longer than you ever dreamed and the longer it takes the more anxious you may get. Or you might be ready to start your next chapter. Regardless of how worn out you are, take a moment to breathe, determine if you have realistic goals, and decide if you should continue negotiations.
Holidays will be harder than you expect. With or without kids, you will have to recognize some traditions are forever gone. Once you are apart or when the kids are not at your house for Thanksgiving, make sure to create some sort of plans: visit family or friends or both, or go on a hike or UTV ride. This is not the time to Netflix and Chill and wallow or isolate yourself.
Divorce ≠ failure, incompetence, or undesirability. Divorce just means your relationship with one person is over. Stigmas still exist, but once you realize that over 1/3 of all marriages end in divorce and that many people in your community have been divorced, the stigma may be more perceived than actual.
On that note, remember to be kind. Others may not know how to react to your divorce and may not have graceful responses to your news. Do your best to limit your divorce to a phase of life followed by a new chapter of possibilities.
Disclaimer. As always, my column is not legal advice, instead merely insight into the law and legal
profession. If you have a general question about the law or legal profession, please email me at
firstname.lastname@example.org or call my office at 435.610.1431
Published in the 6/23 Wayne & Garfield County Insider.
A reprint from The Wayne & Garfield County Insider, 8/31/2017 issue, page 3.