I wish I would have had some insight on the entire process before I started my divorce, but I didn’t. Yes, you can research and google the entire divorce process, however there are many things google can not tell you.
What I wish I would have known…
#1 -If you have kids together, your ex will probably always be in the picture…I wish I would have known that my ex would never go away…I was naive and thought once I was divorced, he would go away. False. I thought that I would be able to just move on with my life and be happy.. hahaha. So false. And by go away, I thought that we would not have much contact. I guess I never thought about all the communication would still need to have regarding the kids.
Once we were divorced he wanted an input in every decision. We share 50/50 custody with 3 kids so we do have constant contact, I did most of the decision making and parenting when we were married and now he wanted an input on everything. This was a challenge for me.. from bedtimes, to church, to sports, to school clothes.. he wanted to add his opinion into everything. I had to really adjust to his input and it was hard. I didn’t understand why he now wanted to have an input in the kid decisions.
You might start the process out being amicable, however it can change throughout. There are so many decisions that need to be made. Now we had children, so there was a lot to decide. I did not realize how much we would still need to be in contact.
So how do you keep your ex out of your life as much as possible and move on..Set boundaries. The more boundaries that are set from the beginning, the easier life is for everyone involved. This included the form of communication we used to dropping off items for the children. Anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, I would begin to set a boundary or make it a discussion.
#2 -Children Adjust-I spent years worrying about how my children would handle our divorce.. Would our divorce ruin them for life? False. Truth is they were more grown up and understanding than some adults. Each one of them has had their hard times, however most of the trouble has been from different parenting styles and additional people now included.
How did we make the transition as smooth as possible? Having a set schedule and routine from the beginning will help them adjust. We have had the same schedule for most of our 5 years of divorce. I fought to not go week to week because my son was still very young and I knew it would not be good for either parent. One summer, I agreed to go week to week for 3 months. It was the worst decision, my son had a hard time adjusting to the new routine. He would call and cry during the week because he missed me and he would count the days until he saw me. After that, we went back to our normal routine and I learned that was the best for my children.
Set a schedule from the beginning and stick with it. It makes it easier on the children and everyone involved. My kids always know where they will be and when. We also do monthly calendars and I put them up so my kids know where they will be at all times.
#3 -Get a good lawyer-Pay the money…Get a good lawyer with references and be thorough. get the best lawyer you can afford. One that has referrals from clients with the similar situation as yours. Ask anyone in the area that is divorced. Be as detailed in your divorce as possible. Include hours, dates, summer schedule, right of refusal, holidays, school expenses, health, medicine, college, etc. I did not have a good lawyer in the beginning, and in the last 5 years my ex and I have gone back to mediation and court several times. This is very stressful, expensive, and affects your entire life moving forward.
It’s hard to move on with life, if you are going back to court and re-evaluating it over and over. It’s important to set all the details with the children in the beginning. I should have thought through all these questions before we got into our divorce. Like are you going to rotate Halloween or stick to the normal schedule… who will pay for school lunches… who will pay for special events … all of these questions will come up. There are so many areas that will need to be included in your decree. Do your homework and make a list. After being divorced for 5 years and my kids continue to grow, there are many additional topics that need to be addressed. Think about your kids in 5 years and what will be important in the future. The more information that is included in your decree from the start the easier your life will be. That is a guarantee!!
#4-You will have an adjustment period with your friends.. Your friends might change throughout the process. The true friends will stick with you..but your life will have many changes. Throughout your divorce your friends may come and go.. It is hard to know. I would prepare yourself that some friends may not be able to stay in your life due to the situation.
My friends were great throughout my divorce, however there is always going to be ones that you feel more comfortable talking about the emotions and feelings that you are experiencing. It was also hard to explain the legal process. It was also hard to ask for advice from individuals that did not have any experience in divorce..
However, Since my divorce my friend circle has changed. I have met some divorced moms that are a great support for me. These are the ones I can hang out with on my non kid weekends. These are the friends that I can rant to about my ex. They get what I am experiencing and can show support. I love all my friends, but some will just get it more than others. Thats just the truth.
I had days where I wanted to talk to people and others that I did not. I was always so tired of telling my “story” I just wanted to have a normal conversation with someone I ran into or met for drinks. If you dont’ feel like talking, then do not. There is so much more to your life than just your divorce.
I know I have blogged in the past about friendships through divorce, but with life changes sometimes your friends will change.
#5-Be patient with yourself and the process… I thought that once the divorce was finalized everything would be finished. During the actual year of my divorce, I was so concentrated on finalizing all those details that I did not concentrate on much else. Once It was finalized, It took a long time to feel normal and content. I honestly felt like I was living in a bubble that entire year. When I first got divorced, people would say give it “5 years” and I thought they were crazy. But here I am and yes for me it took 5 years. It took me 5 years to feel so normal and content with my life.
Be patient with all the changes. Take it slowly and do not rush into anything. My kids and I have made lots of adjustments to our life over the last few years. Remember It’s a start to a new life… I love all the changes that I have made but it does take time…