After her own divorce, the Divorce Encouragist knew that an unhappy marriage is not the end and she decided she would become a divorce coach, guiding other people through end of marriage decisions. So when I thought about a theme of Universal Truths for this week, she was a natural choice and I was very excited when she agreed. Here’s her post:
As a child of divorced parents, a divorcee, a coach, observer and student of divorce, I am delighted to share my perspective on One Of My Favorite Topics. Following are five “universal truths” which I believe all divorces have in common:
- Each Divorce is Different. Perhaps your parents are divorced. Or your best friend. Or that clique of men-hating women at the office… Divorced people typically love to talk about our divorces (evidenced at Ask Me About My Divorce. It’s natural for anyone going through such a process to seek commiseration, validation, sympathy or advice from someone who has “been there, done that.” But remember: their journey is not your journey. Divorce proceedings and outcomes are affected by a multitude of factors including attitudes, legalities, support systems, children, location, family relationships and the big one: money. Aunt Martha’s strategy could be disastrous for Cousin Betsy and your BFF might have settled for much less (or more) than you feel is necessary in your situation. Research is good, but so is realistic/appropriate application of your obtained knowledge.
- You Control Your Divorce. For maximum effectiveness, I am referring to the plural “you”. However, the singular “you” has a lot of power as well. Will the process be long and ugly? Expensive? Amicable? Will you “fight”? Or will you practice “detachment”? Lawyers don’t act unless they are asked (paid) to do so- and then they follow their clients’ wishes. You can set the tone. You are the one who chooses your responses. Choose wisely and you can save a lot of money, time and emotional trauma- for everyone involved.
- Divorce Takes Commitment. Contrary to popular belief, divorce is not the “easy way out.” In fact, it can be quite complicated. For starters, each state has different regulations regarding timing, paperwork and support. In most cases, a divorce will be final several months or even years after a couple decides they are through. Mix in the personal time to grieve, plan and focus… plus the division of property… acquisition of new appliances… parenting plans and child adjustments…residential issues… support settlements (and revisions)… Make no mistake; the divorce process is one that requires strength and endurance.
- Divorce = Change. Your life will be different as a result of a divorce, even if it’s a “Good Divorce”. You’re probably facing increased financial restrictions. Maybe you didn’t used to work and now you need to get a job. You may consider alternate housing. Do you really need a two car garage now that you only have one car? It could be necessary to replace furniture or appliances. The kids might have to change schools. Who is going to fix the clogged drain? Be prepared. Realize that change is inevitable. Expect it and greet it with a smile because….
- Divorce Is A Beginning. Most choose to label divorce as “the end of a marriage,” but we can’t ignore the fact that it’s also an opportunity for a fresh start. In the wake of a separation, new beginnings are plentiful: new job, car, house, hairstyle, clothes, friends… even new coffee mugs to start the days of your new life! Although (in most cases) money will be tight and your outward “status” will be downsized, the climate is perfect to cultivate that which lies within. Take a nap, take a hike, take a class- rediscover You!
My favorite Universal Truth here is You Control Your Divorce – it’s so true but I don’t think you’d necessarily realize it at the time. When my marriage was ending, I had two friends who were also divorcing but I didn’t know anyone who was a veteran. I was very dependent for direction on my attorney. That’s where I think a divorce coach would be a great ally. Yes, her fees would be in addition to your lawyer’s fees but I could easily see the latter being less because of your coach.
Do these Truths hold true for you? Are there any you would add to the list?