Everyone knows divorces can be stressful, but did you know that one study found that divorce causes stress similar to that of a spouse dying?
Over the past nearly three decades, our Firm has helped Marylanders manage their stress throughout almost every type of separation: Military divorces and narcissistic exes, at-fault filings and marital settlement agreements.
Here’s seven ways in which our clients have managed to find a small respite during an incredibly stressful time:
- Figure out the exact reason you’re stressed out, beyond just “divorce.”
- Get a handle on the divorce process so you know what’s coming.
- Get organized!
- Prioritize self-care.
- Budget ahead of time – and know what you’re spending money on.
- Consider how the divorce affects people besides yourself, and then minimize that impact.
- Get someone to help walk you through this, so you don’t have to figure it out alone.
Divorce Stress Tip #1: Figure out what is causing your immediate stress.
The first step to solving a problem is figuring out what is the problem. Identifying stressors in a divorce is the first step to getting relief.
The causes of stress during a divorce vary from case to case, but there are some that affect almost everyone, including:
- Understanding the complicated process of divorce;
- Organizing information for a solid case;
- Processing the emotional toll of leaving a marriage; or
- Paying for the divorce and its consequences.
For example, acknowledging that you’re lonely and miss having that partner to lean on – even if they weren’t the best partner you could have – is the first step towards addressing that emotional pain and ultimately resolving that stress.
Divorce Stress Tip #2: Get specific about
what you want – and then dive into
complex legal processes of divorce.
Divorce is complicated emotionally, but it may be even more complicated legally.
Dealing with courts and the paperwork associated with filing for divorce can be overwhelming, especially if the experience is new to you. (And truly, we hope it’s new to you; divorce is an intense process if you do just one in your lifetime, let alone several.)
Filing for divorce often requires hundreds, even thousands of pages of information. One check mark in one box on one page can change the way your family interacts for decades to come.
That is a lot of pressure for one person to deal with. And, if it was your ex’s job to take care of the paperwork, then your personal stress levels will be even higher.
So before you try to tackle the paperwork, take a step back and figure out exactly what it is you’re aiming for.
- Do you want your ex to take credit for the marriage’s dissolution through an at-fault divorce?
- Do you want to compromise through a marital settlement agreement?
- Or is all you need some time to figure stuff out?
Once you know what you want out of the process, you’ll understand what paperwork you need and what to research.
The more you understand where you are in the proceedings and what you still need to complete, the less you will have to be stressed about.
Divorce Stress Tip #3: Get organized!
Truly, one of the best tips we can offer is to keep thorough and well-organized records throughout the process.
- Make personal copies of every document you submit to the courts, and keep a master list of exactly which documents you sent in.
- Know where you are in the timeline of divorce proceedings, either with a checklist or even calendar reminders at the beginning of certain months to know what’s coming up next.
- Avoid keeping all documents or evidence in cardboard boxes – try binders or expanding file folders.
We get it! Finding the statements for every account and significant asset is daunting, as is finding records of the lives of children or other involved parties.
But, if you want to make sure your divorce is as fast and as pain-free as possible – with as few stressful surprises – knowing what’s where and with whom will keep your overall stress levels low.
Divorce Stress Tip #4: Take care of yourself.
It’s not “greedy” or “selfish” to find time for the football game on Sunday, or spend the evening in a bubble bath.
In fact, such self-care is vital to keeping your stress levels down – or at least stable – during one of the most difficult times of your life.
You deserve to take the time to make sure you’re personally ready for such a transition.
Divorce Stress Tip #5: Keep money in mind.
That sort of monetary pressure adds an understandable extra pile of stress onto anyone undergoing a divorce.
As a Firm, we work incredibly hard to alleviate this stress wherever possible, including:
- Starting with mediation wherever feasible to avoid expensive court trials, then transitioning smoothly into litigation without any sort of onboarding necessary if the opposing party becomes uncooperative;
- Running certain routine procedures through specially trained legal specialists who will bill at a lower rate than the attorney themselves;
- Encouraging clients to sort through their evidence as much as possible in advance, to avoid charging for excessive investigative work; and
- Arranging for ongoing weekly or monthly payments to maintain a client’s trust – basically, a legal savings account – to avoid stressful billing conversations while stretching out the financial investment over a more manageable period of time.
Anyone considering a divorce should also consider the expense – and try to work with a Firm that accommodates this sort of financial investment.
Divorce Stress Tip #6: Understand how divorce affects everyone in your family.
Divorce causes stress for many people – and not just for the two people who are splitting up. Children, for instance, will feel the effects of divorce very deeply. Though all children will feel the stress of the breakup, their age can often determine the ways they deal with that stress.
Older children, however, can find divorce as an opportunity to become more independent, working to distance themselves from the stress of losing the family with which they are familiar.
In adolescence, older children can exhibit stress from a divorce by trying to “grow up” as adults sooner than they might otherwise have.
A child’s misbehavior during the divorce process can pile onto your own stress levels. After all, they were totally fine before, and they’re choosing to act up now?
Absolutely, they’re acting up now! It’s only natural.
So, if your children are adding to stress during your divorce, then take a deep breath – and give them a healthy outlet for them to find some self-care, too.
Maybe family hikes on the NCR trail? Trips to the Baltimore Zoo or National Aquarium? What about some video therapy with a neutral party?
Whatever works for your kids, your own stress levels will thank you for finding it.
Divorce Stress Tip #7: Follow an experienced guide to navigate through your legal stress.
You knew this was coming, but it’s still true: One of the best things you can do to feel relief from divorce stress is to seek advice from people experienced with a divorce.
Maybe a friend has already been through a similar situation and can help you make sense of what is going on in your life.
Even better than an experienced friend, though, is an experienced expert.
You can also have an attorney act as a representative for you – in filings, in court, and with your ex or their attorney.
They can guide you according to your specific circumstances, helping you make your way through the legally, financially, and emotionally difficult time.
Use this season as a time to lean on loved ones and the people who can help you most. After all, trying to go through a divorce alone will make it much more stressful.
If you want to see how we can help with such a transition, then schedule a free consultation at your convenience.