Going through a divorce with children is one of the hardest, most stressful events you will face in your lifetime. Here are 10 rules to make it a little bit easier.
1. Acknowledge your cranky inner child — and put her in time out if necessary.
Divorce with children is emotional and you will not be at your best – you will revert to your child self at times. That may mean shutting down or acting out. Take a time out when things get crazy. And forgive yourself for not always being your ultra-awesome reasonable adult self.
2. Believing what “everyone” says.
You will hear many conflicting things about divorce during this process. Trust your attorney. If you don’t, you need a new one.
3. If it’s not a court order, it doesn’t count.
Seriously. Even if the judge made a remark in court that didn’t end up in the order, it doesn’t count. That’s why it takes so long for us to draft our settlement proposals.
4. A court order is not a suggestion.
This relates to number three. You MUST follow all of the provisions in the court order or be prepared to face the consequences.
5. You can hate your ex, but it can’t affect your kids, your decision-making, or the rest of your life.
I have written so much on cooperative co-parenting I won’t bore you with it again here.
6. The ONLY person you can control is yourself.
If we embrace this fact, we are more likely to settle the case, keep our emotions in check, and end up with the best possible outcome.
7. Practice saying “whatever.”
You cannot sweat the small stuff. Write down what is most important to you and go back to this list. If it’s not on the list — let it go. Embrace your inner pre-teen and throw your best What-evah!
8. Before you do it, ask yourself what the judge would think.
Your life is on display to be judged — literally. Imagine your every move being recorded and judged. Even while going through this mess, you must be above reproach.
9. It’s time to get ridiculously picky about your records — because your case depends on it.
Do not rely on friends, family or your attorney. Keep track of dates, times, events, receipts, etc. Scan your documents so you can sort and re-sort.
10. Take care of yourself. No one else will.
You cannot count on your ex, your friends, your kids, or your family to meet your needs. YOU MUST make yourself a priority and take care of yourself. Exercise, meditate, eat well, don’t drink too much. You know the drill.