Raising a family together is hard work, and sometimes marriage and relationships don't survive. But splitting up when there are kids involved is even harder. Parent24's #dignifieddivorce series is here to help parents navigate the legal and emotional implications of a divorce.
Some of the most common reasons for divorce worldwide are infidelity, finances, lack of communication, constant conflict, lack of intimacy, inequality etc. When a marriage has broken down to such a degree, spouses are more often than not filled with a range of emotions such as feeling betrayed, let down, ashamed, abused, enraged and even abandoned, to name a few.
It is humanly impossible to be fair and reasonable, or civilised in some cases, when in this overwhelmed state, so here are a few things to consider before your next encounter with your soon to be ex:
1. Know where you stand
The person leaving a marriage (the one asking for a divorce), has already gone through a process of mourning the loss of what was supposed to be a life-long partnership, come to terms with the reality of it and is ready to move on and start a new life.
The person being left behind, is literally far behind in this process, normally in a state of shock, trying to figure out what went wrong or desperate to save the marriage.
They are in no condition to make any big decisions let alone negotiate a fair divorce settlement.
2. Get the help you need
If you are the one being left behind and find it challenging, seek the help you need to find your feet first and gain an understanding of your spouse’s position, before you agree to commence a divorce process.
If you are the one leaving, seek the help you need to gain a thorough understanding of your spouse’s opposing position and allow time and resources for their support, before commencing a divorce process.
3. Change your attitude
The traditional picture most of us have of divorce is a frightening, expensive and debilitating event – a legal war that is waged way over our heads, leaving us broken and bankrupt.
Your divorce does not have to be that way. There is a way for you to stay in control of your divorce process, to manage everyone’s expectations and to meet the needs of every member of your family, without depleting your finances.
All you have to do is be confident in your ability to know what’s best for your family, resolve to be fair and reasonable and plan a strategy.
4. Take ownership
Every divorce is unique and therefore it is imperative to be involved in choosing the best process for your particular situation.
Do not hand over all power to a third party who, together with other legal professionals who are strangers to you, will make all the decisions about your future.
It is your and your spouse’s combined responsibility to ensure the well-being of yourself, each other and your children, during the divorce process and beyond.
Resolve to build a great new legacy for everyone, despite your divorce.
5. Put your money where your heart is
This does not imply that you should give everything to your new lover.
This means that you should invest resources into help and support for yourself and your loved ones who are dealing with the life-altering impact of your divorce.
Invest in educating yourself about the best ways to go through a divorce or get parental guidance to learn co-parenting skills or whatever matters arise.
Mostly, ensure that family rituals are honoured on both sides and invest in creating new happy memories.
Compiled for Parent24 by Sinta Ebersohn, Divorce Mentor and founder of Fair Divorce, an initiative that serves to address the many issues relating to divorce and separation.
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