12 Divorce Tips To Make Your Split Waaaayyy Less Stressful

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Tips For Dealing With Stress During The Divorce Process
Self, Heartbreak

Going through the divorce process pretty much guarantees long months (or years) of stress.

In fact, the only thing that's probably more stressful than going through a divorce is surviving the death of your spouse.

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While no one has yet invented the "stress-free divorce," there are a few hacks that you can use to make coping with divorce at least a little bit less stressful so you can learn how to move on.

Here are 12 divorce hacks for dealing with stress so you can lower your blood pressure and make the process go more smoothly.

1. Get a therapist or a divorce coach

Getting divorced involves making a lot of huge decisions, some of which can dramatically affect the rest of your life.

You can’t make those kinds of decisions when all you want to do is lay on the couch all day with a bottle of wine and a box of chocolates. You have to be able to think.

A good therapist or divorce coach can help you clear your head so you don’t wake up six months after your divorce wondering why you ended up with nothing!

2. Figure out what you want

Be specific! The number one mistake most people make in divorce is wandering blindly through the divorce process without identifying what matters most to them.

Then, once their divorce is over, they can’t understand why they ended up with the Tupperware but didn’t get enough money to live on.

3. Write down your goals

Once you figure out what you want for your new life after divorce, write it down! Make a list of the things that are most important to you. Then, prioritize your list so you can see what matters a lot, and what doesn’t.

Know that you're never going to get everything you want. But if you focus on the top few things that are important, you're way more likely to get those.

4. Make a plan... or at least start to make a plan

Work with your attorney and your divorce coach to figure out what you need to do to get from where you are now to where you want to be at the end of your divorce.

Don’t worry if your plan has a few gaps in it at first — it will likely grow and evolve over time.

What's most important is that you make a plan so that you don’t just drift through your divorce — stressed out — without any clue of where you're going.

5. Get organized

Divorce is a document-driven process. The more financial documents you can put together in a reasonably organized fashion, the more money you are going to save in legal fees.

And, the sooner you can get yourself organized, the better. Remember, every time your lawyer has to ask you for the same documents, it costs you money.

6. Do your homework before you see an attorney

That means you need to gather your financial information and make copies of it before you walk into a lawyer’s office. An attorney’s advice is only as good as the information it is based on.

If you see an attorney without knowing your finances, you are not going to be making the best use of the attorney’s time, or your money.

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7. Decide how you want to get through your divorce before choosing a lawyer

If you want to mediate your divorce, you shouldn’t hire an attorney who is known to be a shark.

If you want to do a collaborative divorce, you need to hire an attorney who has been trained in the collaborative process.

If you know you're going to have to go to court and fight, then you need a divorce lawyer who is a fighter.

To get the best result, you need to match the attorney you hire to the divorce process you want to use.

8. Make a post-divorce budget before you settle your case

The quickest way to financial ruin is to spend more money every month than you make. If you don’t know how much money you are going to need to live on after your divorce, you can’t possibly know whether you will need to ask your soon to be ex for support or not.

You also won’t know whether you are going to have to seriously change your lifestyle in order to make ends meet.

If the idea of making a budget terrifies you, that’s fine. Face your fear and do it anyway.

9. Be an active participant in your divorce

It doesn’t matter whether you wanted this divorce or not. If you're getting a divorce, you have to deal with it. Learn how the divorce system works and pay attention to what's happening in your case.

Don't assume that your lawyer will handle everything for you. This is your life! Even if you have a fabulous attorney (and especially if you don’t), no one is going to know or care more about your life than you!

10. Love your kids more than you hate your spouse

It doesn’t matter how much you want to strangle your spouse. If you don’t want your kids to become collateral damage in your divorce, you have to suck it up and put them first.

Don’t use them to deliver messages to your spouse. Don’t play games with visitation or child support. Don’t bad mouth their other parent. Find a way to communicate with your spouse about the kids.

In short, do whatever it takes to protect your kids. It will suck for you, but it will be totally worth it for them.

11. Manage your expectations

No matter what you do, your divorce is going to take longer and cost more than you expect. Dealing with stress and moving on is going to be painful and ugly and soul-sucking. It's not going to seem fair. (Sorry!)

It's going to challenge you and change you in ways you never dreamed. If you understand all that from the start, and you're willing to roll with the punches, you will do okay.

If you try to force your divorce to go exactly the way you think it should go, on precisely the timetable you created, you're going to be frustrated, angry and unhappy.

12. Take your divorce one step at a time

Divorce is a time of enormous uncertainty. If you start worrying from the beginning about all the changes you are going to have to make in your life, how your kids will adjust, and how you will find a lawyer, and how you are going to survive on your own, you will make yourself crazy!

If you deal with your divorce one day at a time and try not to worry about what may or may not happen years from now, getting through your divorce will not be nearly as stressful.

RELATED: How (& When) To Tell People You Are Getting A Divorce

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Karen Covy is a divorce advisor, attorney, and coach. To get more tips on how to get through the divorce process without losing your sanity (and everything else you have), visit her website.

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