“When you can’t control what’s happening, challenge yourself to control the way you respond to what’s happening. That’s where your power is.”
Facing divorce and all the implications of it are daunting in the best of situations. However, if you are being forced into divorce or separation, when it is not something you want, life can become very challenging. Your physical, emotional, and financial well-being may all be at risk.
We all want to think that we would accept the change in our relationship status with dignity. However, having made this unpleasant life journey myself in the past, I know that every part of your being may be raging in protest and failing to accept the inevitable. That often leads to less than admirable behavior.
Anyone who really wants to get divorced will eventually get what they are asking for.
In the state of Washington, anyone who really wants to get divorced will eventually get what they are asking for. It does not matter if their spouse does not agree and does not actually want to get divorced. You cannot force your spouse to stay married if they are trying to legally end the marriage.
Candidly, there are some tactics that could be used to delay the process, if you are really determined. But there are very few circumstances where that would be a good strategy to take. Being difficult, vile, and an obstruction to the process, once your partner has decided to end the relationship, will only make a bad situation worse.
There are a few situations where some negotiation with your partner might yield results.
Examples are: if you have deep religious convictions against divorce; if you are unable to obtain health care insurance coverage without your spouse because of a serious medical condition; if you are living inside or outside the country and your immigration status might be put in jeopardy; or if you truly believe that reconciliation is possibility. In all these cases, except reconciliation, a legal separation might be a better solution than divorce. But, in most circumstances, the best plan will be to accept reality and start making plans to protect yourself and your interests. Again, that means emotionally, legally and financially.
Often during the time you take to wrestle with and accept the fact that the separation and divorce is going to happen, your spouse has gone forward with implementing their plans. In doing so, they have essentially taken the upper hand in your divorce. So, not only are you being forced into the divorce, you are also much more likely to get the short end of the stick when it comes a division of your assets and debts and, possibly, time with your children.
Approach the divorce from a business-like perspective.
You must approach the divorce from a business-like perspective, no matter how emotionally crushed you may be. Some people get the idea that if they give in to everything their spouse is asking for in the divorce, maybe they will come across as such a nice person that their spouse will “see the light” and change their mind about the divorce. This is unrealistic and a very bad idea! There are no do-overs in divorce. You must approach the divorce from a business-like perspective, no matter how emotionally crushed you may be. The outcome of your divorce is something you will be living with, and possibly paying for, for many years to come. Do not be naïve in how you deal with it.
Immediately hire a skilled attorney to represent your interests and actually heed their advice. Having someone you know has your back will let you relax a bit about technicalities and allow you to come to grip with the inevitable changes coming your way. Attorneys are in a much better position to negotiate on your behalf because they are not carrying the emotional baggage you are and they can more easily identify schemes that may be intended to take advantage of you.
Here are a 9 tips to help you cope with an unwanted but inevitable divorce:
- Hire an attorney to help you make and keep your legal interests a priority.
- Consider being the one who actually files for divorce. Doing so puts you in a stronger position legally.
- Protect your financial status and time with your children by promptly filing for Temporary Court Orders to establish your rights during the divorce process.
- Try to look at divorce as a legal business transaction, because that is what it is. It is hard to overcome the emotional response to the ending of your relationship; but decisions you make now will impact your future for years to come. Be smart and purposeful.
- Don’t walk away from anything that is important to you. If you want to keep your home, your car, your TV, or custodial time with your children, hold your ground from day one. It is much easier to get the court to agree to you keeping something than it is to convince them to take it away from someone else and give it to you.
- Don’t get hung up on anger and revenge. It may be justified, but it will not be productive. In fact, actions that are based on negative emotions are frequently counter-productive to reaching amicable resolutions of disagreements.
- Accept the inevitable and decide to approach your divorce with optimism and a sense of adventure. New opportunities come with change.
- Don’t act out. Domestic violence and other inappropriate behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated by law enforcement and the court. Do not jeopardize yourself or your legal position. Just as importantly, do not tolerate inappropriate behavior by your spouse.
- Be kind to yourself. Eat healthy, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, spend time with family and friends, and do things that you enjoy. Taking care of yourself will help you to be in better condition to deal with the stress of divorce and cope with the inevitable changes in your life. Additionally, you will be in much better shape as you start the next chapter of your life.