*It’s like it was yesterday: that deep down ache that’s somehow empty and full of emotion at the same time; the checkout girl staring strangely because I’ve started to tear up while buying printer ink; the unbearably lonely, harsh time of 3 a.m. when the universe decides I should be awake. Divorce is excruciating, made even more so when we don’t heed the advice of others. Sometimes people don’t know what’s good for them. Like it or not, you need to hear these things when your marriage is breaking.
1. “You need professional negotiation or mediation.”
It’s tempting to get a divorce over with quickly or to believe that it will actually be entirely congenial. The marriage and even the decision to split up may have been all – or mainly – emotion-based, but the divorce itself is primarily business and things need to be handled smartly. Otherwise, when those feelings have been dealt with and overcome, there’ll be regret for not getting a fair settlement. Getting out of a marriage quickly isn’t an excuse to give up what’s rightfully yours.
2. “Don’t blow your money on a shopping spree, beach vacation or new car just to pad the blow.”
Divorce is wildly expensive, even for couples who are more than just fine financially. Attorney fees, moving, court costs…it really adds up. For the time being, get used to living on less. Keep in mind that bills may need to be paid before the first alimony payment is received or even before property is split up.
3. Any and every cliche you can think of, including, “time heals all wounds,” “you’re better off” and “there’s a light at that end of the tunnel.” Oh, and that really obnoxious one about fish.
The truth is that sometimes things get worse before they get better. In essence, though, these cliches are the real deal, and here’s why: At some point, your divorce will be the worst it can be, and then it will actually start to improve. What’s now a scorching pain will eventually dull a lot, even if it doesn’t fully disappear for years. Friends spout these sayings to provide comfort and that’s not as misguided as you may think. Knowing other people have gone through what you’re dealing with can make you feel less alone and much more hopeful. If Jennifer Lopez could get through two (or is it three) divorces, not to mention broken engagements and taking care of twins, you could handle this.
4. “You have to talk to him.”
I know, I know – he’s a selfish, shameless pig who cheated on you and never really got along with your mother. Or, to be fair, she’s a nagging wife who can’t boil an egg and who talks through every football game you sit down to watch. Unless the marriage was abusive, though, it’s necessary to find some mode of communication when children are involved. Even if there aren’t any kids, it’s still not wise to ignore a phone call or e-mail from an almost-ex, for both legal and personal reasons.
5. “You need an attorney.”
We’ve all heard horror stories of the do-it-yourself divorce gone wrong. Preparing divorce documents on your own sounds like a good idea (kind of), but it’s really not. At the very least, ask a lawyer to look everything over before filing. Also, just because a meditator is involved in the divorce, that doesn’t mean an attorney isn’t necessary as well. For couples who aren’t out for blood, one attorney can be used for both parties.
Neal Davis is a professional blogger that shares legal advice on divorce and family law situations. He writes for Campo Blumenfeld LLP Attorneys At Law, a divorce and family law firm in Milwaukee.