The break up of a marriage can be one of the most painful and complicated transitions a person can make. Whether the separation is initiated by you, your spouse or is a mutual decision, it can evoke a range of emotions from sadness, shock, fear, loss, anger and grief. Wherever you find yourself in this process, it is important to have emotional support, knowledge of the legal process and information about resources to help you through it. In the process of taking care of yourself and your family, here are some things to consider…
Surround yourself with support
Some people find it helpful to seek out supportive friends; even having one friend who has navigated through what you may perceive as the most challenging obstacle can make a difference. Support groups are also very helpful, particularly if you are feeling stuck, feeling concerned about leaning too much on friends, not prepared to share with people in your community, or just needing feedback from others in the same situation. And, if you can afford to, invest in individual therapy to help you sort through the complicated emotions that come up as a result of this difficult transition.
Know your financial situation. Know your rights
You may not have sought the advice of a financial planner in the past; however, getting expert advice regarding your finances when you are divorcing is highly recommended.
Know that there are a variety of options for navigating the legal decisions ahead. Some couples are able to resolve their issues through mediation, avoiding court altogether. Other people litigate some or all of the issues in their divorce, resulting in a decision by a judge. Another option that couples are finding extremely beneficial is collaborative law which allows couples, along with a host of professionals, to craft their own agreements. To learn more about this approach, listen to KQED Forum interview with Bay Area Collaborative Law Attorney, Jennifer Jackson
If you find comfort in reading…
The Good Divorce, by Candice Ahron’s, Ph.D. is a good place to start. It chronicles the process of real life couples transitioning beyond the fear of separating, into the adjustment of a new family structure. For other books on divorce related topics, see our resources page.