Taking Control of Your Divorce

The following is a list of the top ten strategies for helping you maintain control in your divorce:

  1. Decide what is most important to you and your family in your divorce. Gather as much divorce information as you can to make an informed decision on the divorce process that is best for you.
  2. Surround yourself with professionals whose expertise you respect and trust. This is the time to ask for and receive help to support you through your divorce.
  3. Make sure you’re physically safe. Courts can issue restraining orders and protective orders, but they’re just pieces of paper. If you feel that you and/or your children are physically unsafe, call the authorities.
  4. Take care of yourself physically. Find a way to release stress, move your body and clear out your mind. Coping with divorce will be one of your greatest challenges.
  5. Find an attorney who fits your style and personality. Remember, you’re the boss. Your attorney should tell you your options, explain the consequences and costs of each choice, and then let you decide what to do next.
  6. Determine how you will pay your living expenses when you are no longer married. If you need education, find out where to get it, how long it will take and how much it will cost. If you need to change jobs or get a job, do that before you are desperate for money, if possible.
  7. Learn as much as you can about your financial situation before you separate. Make copies of old records, go through the files and consult with your accountant.
  8. Join or create a support group. Family, friends, church members, colleagues, neighbors – anyone except your children. There are churches, therapists and other professionals who run divorce support groups. Find the same thing for your children. Many school counselors run ongoing groups for students whose parents are divorced or divorcing.
  9. Look at the big picture. It is easy to get caught up in small matters that are irritating now, but that won’t matter in the long run. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
  10. Encourage your children to have a positive relationship with their other parent. When they go to his or her house, tell them to have a good time. Don’t talk bad about the other parent to the children or in front of the children.