Everyone enters into a marriage expecting it to succeed, but according to the government more than 20 percent of marriages end in divorce within the first five years, and 48 percent end within 20 years. Although these statistics are a bit alarming, it is possible to have a healthy breakup when the marriage ends.
Here are five tips to make your divorce go as smoothly as possible.
Take Responsibility. No one person is ever completely to blame for a divorce, so take responsibility for your mistakes in the marriage. Examine your marriage and the part that both parties played in its failure. It’s important to realize your mistakes, take responsibility for your actions, and approach the divorce with honesty. This will make necessary divorce proceedings and negotiations with your spouse easier, calmer and faster. Taking responsibility for your part in the divorce will help you heal faster and prevent you from making the same mistakes in a future relationship.
Be Respectful. It’s important to remember that you did once love the person you’re divorcing, even if your feelings are different now. Divorce is an emotional process that can result in a lot of emotions including anger, anxiety, grief and fear, and sometimes those feelings show up when you least expect them. Although you may be tempted to fight with your spouse through the divorce proceedings, take the high road instead. Be respectful towards your spouse and the divorce process, and try to preserve some of the good feelings you once had towards your partner. You may not remain best friends, but you can remain amicable.
Stay Positive. Lifestyle changes brought on by divorce can be frightening and overwhelming, but it’s important to keep a positive outlook for your future. Find a support system through family members, friends and networking groups who can keep you from feeling isolated and alone. Formal support groups can help you cope with the lifestyle changes of a divorce by connecting you with people in similar situations. Get involved in enjoyable activities or new hobbies to take your mind off of your emotions. Meet new people, take a class, join a gym, and reclaim activities that you had to give up during your marriage.
Understand Your Finances. One of the greatest challenges of a divorce is often your financial future after a divorce. Understand your finances and assets, so you can determine how to divide them. When you’re dividing assets, prioritize your wants and needs. For example, you may agree to give your spouse more cash in exchange for the house. If you can’t afford to keep the house on one salary, plan for the sale of the house as part of the divorce settlement. Be realistic and practical in your demands to facilitate a fair settlement and a quicker divorce.
Talk to the Kids. Divorce can be a traumatic experience for children, especially if there’s a lot of conflict in the divorce. Keep conflicts away from the kids and between the adults to avoid potential risks of social and psychological problems for the kids. Come up with a plan and discuss the changes that the family is experiencing together with the kids. They will benefit from honest conversations and open communications. Although divorce is difficult for most kids, studies show that kids handle divorce better when they maintain close contact with both parents. Maintaining a loving relationship with your kids through the divorce process will create a more positive outlook for their future.