Divorce is a complex emotional struggle that more people experience than expected. It can be an intense rollercoaster of heightened emotions, battles in the courtroom and financially straining decisions.
While many complications are expected in most divorce cases, some unexpected things also come with the territory. Here are some things to expect with a divorce that may not be on the predicted radar.
It Can Be Lonely
Divorcees often feel cast out or isolated. Some of their friends seem to choose sides or can no longer relate to what they’re going through. While they may try to understand, people tend to give unsolicited advice that can make matters worse. True friends will stick around post-divorce and even throw divorce parties, which can be like bachelorette parties in reverse. Freedom comes with divorce, which means there’s no asking for permission.
Making independent decisions can be freeing post-divorce, but they can also lead to feelings of depression and isolation. Friendships are essential to surviving divorce, boosting mood and finding balance while navigating a new sense of normal. Reach out to other single parents or join groups, like book clubs or other social organizations, to make new friends if existing ones don’t provide adequate support.
Custody Rights and Challenges
Divorce can be more challenging if there are kids involved. While custody can be complex if the parents disagree, it can prove difficult, even if it’s an amicable agreement. The financial responsibilities can fall on both parents in the form of child support by the noncustodial parent or split arrangements agreed upon by both parties. Typically, the custodial parent files their child as a dependent on their taxes.
However, some special circumstances can affect the arrangement, like dependency exemption, if the custodial parent approves it. There are advantages and disadvantages regarding children when it comes to divorce. Kids often feel stuck in the middle and experience emotional grievances, much like their parents. However, kids often get the undivided attention they deserve leading to a better understanding and relationship with their parents post-split. Co-parenting isn’t for the faint of heart, but a cordial relationship is in the child’s best interest if possible.
Shopping for extra essentials so kids can have them at both parents’ houses is a must, so they feel at home at both residences. Parents will experience more time spent away from their children while they visit the other parent, which can lead to adverse feelings. This time is an opportunity to find friends, pick up a new hobby, practice self-care or self-discovery or pursue passions put on hold when the children were born.
Divorce Is Expensive
Expect some turbulence in the financial department during a divorce. Divorce can cause financial instability and adjustments to accommodate independent living. No matter which party was in charge of bills or if they shared the responsibility, getting accustomed to paying bills independently can be rough. Starting from scratch can feel liberating, but it doesn’t come without a cost.
Financial advisors can be excellent resources for providing guidance and support. They can help divide and value assets and debt, pension and retirement accounts, and offer other helpful advice. Financial advisors are separate from attorneys and don’t offer legal advice, but they can be helpful nonetheless, especially when crafting a budget for independence post-divorce. From new living arrangements to attorney fees to unexpected expenses, a new budget is necessary for both parties involved in a divorce.
Downsizing is a viable option for many couples who can’t pay existing mortgages and car payments without the other party’s income. While that can be disheartening, it can present new opportunities to start over and offer fresh perspectives and a clean slate for couples to begin separate lives that aren’t tied to negative memories.
Self-Care Is Important
New feelings and challenges will arise, making this the perfect opportunity to do some soul-searching. Finding inner balance can provide new direction and avoid repeating the same mistakes that lead to divorce.
Find solace in newfound freedom and define a new normal. Find ways to practice self-care, like writing in a journal or practicing mindfulness or meditation to nourish your mental and physical health. Self-care looks different for everyone–something as simple as taking a shower or reading a book can be a way to practice self-care.
Divorce can bring out myriad emotions, making even the simplest task seem challenging. Buckle up those bootstraps and do something that rinses the funk off–wallowing never served anyone. Feel the feelings because they are valid and deserve recognition and then do something that makes everything feel less terrible. Have a dance party, listen to a fantastic podcast, do a delightful skincare routine or lean on friends for support–it will get better.
While divorce can put a damper on friendships, financial stability and evoke strong emotions, it can also be a liberating experience that can drastically improve the lives of everyone involved. Ensure to prepare for the changes that accompany divorce