How to Divorce Like an Adult
Property division, child custody and support and dozens of details often mean high stress levels during divorce. You can ease your stress, and maybe get the upper hand, by behaving like an adult during the process.
- Thousands of marriages end in divorce each year
- The details of most divorces are stressful enough, so don’t add to it by acting immaturely
- Acting like an adult may give you the upper hand when it comes to child support and visitation and other contested matters in your divorce
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Keep Your Cool
Each year in the US, thousands of marriages end in divorce. It’s a stressful time for everyone. In most divorces, couples have property that needs to be divided or distributed between them. Often, they have children, so arrangements have to be made for child custody, support and visitation. That’s just a few of the details you may have to deal with.
On top of all that, you may have a dozen or so practical things to take care of, such as
- Getting a handle on your personal finances and bank accounts
- Finding a new place to live
- Changing your name
Sometimes, spouses work together and the divorce goes smoothly and peacefully. Unfortunately, that’s the exception, not the rule. Many divorces involve disagreements, even fierce battles. Face it, the last thing you need right now is the added stress. You can ease the stress level, and maybe even get an upper hand in some of the legal battles by taking the high road and acting like an adult:
1. Hire a Lawyer. Even if you and your soon-to-be ex are trying to handle things out on your own, you should still have a lawyer review your forms and documents. Hiring one at the very beginning is a good idea, too. A lawyer saves you from having to deal with all the paperwork and court filings. Also, your attorney will keep your best interests in mind and will work to make sure you get everything you need and deserve.
2. Stay Calm at All Times. Avoid arguments, especially if you have children. The divorce is stressful for them, too, and they don’t need to see and hear you fight. When it looks like there may be trouble, stay calm and tell your soon-to-be ex to call an attorney. Jot down the date and time of the argument and what it was about. Be careful about taping or recording arguments.
When it comes to issues like child support, custody and visitation, having records of arguments may tip the balance your way, especially if you can show the judge you avoided fights.
3. Be Willing to Compromise. In a divorce, it’s almost natural to "want everything;" to want to make the other spouse "pay" for destroying your marriage. Resist the urges and be practical. When it comes to property division, and even child visitation and support, the courts like when spouses have a plan or agreement in place. You usually don’t want a judge to make these decisions for you.
Be realistic about everyone’s financial condition and earning power. Try to come to an agreement about alimony or spousal support and realize a court will order it if one of you needs it and the other can afford to pay it.
Again, stay calm and take the high road. Rather than fight between yourselves, let the lawyers handle the problem.
4. Talk To Someone. You need emotional support during the divorce. Talk to a family member or a close friend about what’s happening. If necessary, talk to a therapist or counselor. This will help keep you calm and focused. It will also help you avoid taking out your frustrations on your soon-to-be ex, and that means avoiding more arguments and more stress.
5. Let the Court Handle Post-Divorce Problems. Be an adult and live up to your responsibilities. Do what the court orders you to do in the divorce decree – pay support, follow the child visitation schedule, etc. Don’t take matters into your own hands when your ex doesn’t follow the same rules. It could mean more trouble for you. Call your attorney or contact the court that heard the divorce to find out what you can do to have the court settle the matter.
Divorce is rarely a pleasant experience. By keeping your cool and behaving like an adult, you can make it easier to get through to the other side and get on with your life.
Related Apps for Your Smartphone*
- ParenTime – Use your iPhone as an interactive calendar for keeping track of child visitation and custody dates and times. $2.99
- The Divorce Encyclopedia – Get 1,000 terms, phrases and topics you need to know about before and during your divorce anywhere, anytime you’re your iPhone. $3.99
*Please note that these apps are for informational purposes only, and neither LexisNexis nor Lawyers.com endorses these apps or accepts liability for their use.
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