Although nothing can truly prepare you for what divorce is going to entail, there are some preparations, preventative measures and decisions that can be made before, during and after the divorce that can make your life, your ex’s life and your kid’s life a lot easier. This is a top ten list from a blogger at the Huffington Post on what she did to make her divorce easier on everyone involved, especially herself.
A friend said to me that I made getting divorced look easy. I suppose when you’re ready, it can be! I was so ready that in fact it only took three months from start to finish. It could have been less, but I opted for a later court date because I hadn’t expected it to go so smoothly. Another factor is when you don’t have a lot of “stuff,” meaning money and material possessions, there’s not much to argue over. Keeping the focus on the children and not your ego is the best path to freedom. Here’s how I did it:
1. I quit my job and started working from home.
I actually did this over four years ago, but it was the most liberating, challenging thing I’d done in my marriage. Granted I have an entrepreneurial streak, or in the latest vernacular “solopreneur,” but it still takes a great deal of courage to risk financial hardship and incredible strength to carry through with a vision and make money. With these skills, I had the confidence to do anything.
2. I went to a divorce lawyer, twice, two years apart.
The first visit was shortly after I quit my job. I had zero support from my co-parent. He had no idea what it was I had set out to accomplish, and felt terribly burdened with having to support the family 100%. I can’t blame him for that, but I had a plan, he just didn’t understand it. For all he knew I had turned into an Internet junkie and was surfing porn sites. A little support would have gone a long way… I learned from my first visit that I had a tough road ahead of me if I were to leave the marriage. There just wasn’t enough money and the children would suffer. So I waited. Last year, I went again, and the numbers came out much better. And on the plus side, because in reality there still wasn’t any money to fight over, both visits were pro bono. I never got a bill.
3. I started working out regularly, including taking up running.
It was not my first intent to look better. I was more concerned about feeling better. I was sitting all day and not moving around as much, so my lower back hurt, my hips cracked all the time, and my legs were cramping. As I started to feel better, I noticed my mood improved immensely too. I had more energy, I slept better, and I looked better. And going to the gym is social, which I needed just as much. And for whatever reason, I decided to start running. I don’t know why I had waited so long. I loved it immediately (well, after the third time.) It was the biggest physical challenge I had taken on yet. Running has changed my life. I know that I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in, which gives me confidence in everything I do.
4. I saw more of my friends.
Girls night took on new importance. As did traveling to meet up with my far away friends. I have a fantastic core group of friends in my area and we meet at least twice a month and I know I can count on them for anything. I know a lot of people in my town, but I am blessed to have my small group. And then there are the friends I’ve collected over time and know we can continue the conversation whenever we want. Doubly blessed. These are the people who you contact first with the good news and who get you through the heartache. They’re also the people that, say for example you find out Pearl Jam is playing in San Diego and want to go, you text them with your request and the next thing you know you’re flying to San Diego from the east coast to see Pearl Jam. Pretty amazing.