When you’re in the midst of a divorce, the New Year becomes an even greater symbol of a new beginning and of starting over. Perhaps, the New Year’s Eve song “Auld Lang Syne” means even more to you now during your divorce when you sing the lyrics, “should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?”
Though you can’t totally forget your ex-spouse during a divorce, you can resolve to become a stronger advocate for yourself, as you partner with your divorce attorney to bring both your marriage, and the accompanying litigation, to an end. The following are five New Year’s Resolutions that anyone soon-to-be divorced should follow to make the New Year, and the divorce, a more streamlined and, hopefully, an easier process:
1. Pick Your Battles: A divorce, like a war, is not won or resolved after one battle. Parties in a divorce proceeding face an array of battles including those regarding custody rights involving the children, the valuation of a business, property and financial issues, and possibly domestic violence, too. Resolving to pick the battles most significant to you can help expedite the process and give you peace of mind.
2. Budget Better: A divorce typically creates two new and distinct households which may still be supported by only one source of income. Working with a financial planner to gain a better handle on the management of your money through effective saving and budgeting, will ease the tension and burden of financial issues that come up during a divorce. Further, better financial planning will also allow you to gain a better sense of independence from your ex-spouse, which can be an enormous boost of confidence and empowerment.
3. Explore Your Interests: Maybe you always loved bike riding, but at some point during the marriage you set aside your interests because your spouse hated bicycling. Perhaps you used to play the piano and gave that up too because your spouse couldn’t take the noise. Now, in the New Year, and in your new state of independence, it is time to re-explore those interests. Getting back in touch with the things that make you happy and fulfilled will make you feel more mentally and emotionally strong, which are two important components when enduring the divorce process.
4. Think About Therapy: Even if you’ve always been a bit uncomfortable with the idea of speaking to a therapist, now is the time to set aside your feelings and seek a therapist’s help. During the divorce process, speaking to a neutral party can be extremely beneficial. While a family law attorney handles the legal component of the divorce, the person enduring the divorce carries the emotional burden. Working with a therapist (or a counselor, a divorce support group, or even your rabbi or pastor) may allow you to gain a better grip on your emotions so you are more mentally strong to deal with the various obstacles you may encounter during your divorce.
5. Be Civil To Your Ex-Spouse: Though you may hate your ex-spouse, if you have children together, you need to make a resolution to be civil to your ex-spouse, and even find ways to compliment your ex-spouse in front of your children. Children have an amazing ability to sense when something isn’t right regardless of their age. Making an effort to be polite to your ex-spouse will help ease the divorce process for the children, and may even work to appease your own hurt, too.