Manage the bulk of your anxiety through family and friends who are supportive, and turn to a mental health professional when your friends’ reassurance is insufficient to keep you focused on your own life rather than on your spouse’s. But use your lawyer only for legal questions. Call your lawyer to get help with “whats” and “hows” of the divorce, but calling him or her to report your spouse’s bad behavior is an inappropriate use that will only cost you money. Anticipating your spouse’s strategies in negotiations should be useful in helping you to practice backing up your choices with facts, examples, or alternatives. But try to spend your time planning, not in worrying about “What if she won’t let me have the kids enough time?” That kind of call to your lawyer evokes anger or frustration when the lawyer cannot fix your situation, and rarely leads to successful strategizing.
This time may be filled with a dawning awareness of the less glamorous aspects of divorce. Your quiet home now seems empty, lonely. You never realized how difficult it would be to get all three of your children to their activities without someone else to pick up Jamie at the middle school, be home when Mike calls for a ride, or get Susie to dance class, all within one hour of each other. This period often leads to re-questioning the desirability of the divorce. Couples who are acting civilly with each other in efforts to be cooperative may experience “mini-reconciliations.” These brief interludes do not last for most couples, as they slip back into the patterns that led them to divorce in the first place. They do, however, provide temporary respite during the long waiting process. When these reconciliations fail, people may emerge with renewed vigor to get the divorce over with, and become angry and frustrated with their lawyers and the legal process when it slows them down. Prepare yourself as much as possible by reading some good books about divorce (see http://www.peace-talks.com/books.php). Also, visit the Peace Talks resource center at http://www.peace-talks.com/resources.php for good articles, plans and checklists.
Excerpted from Your Divorce Advisor: A Lawyer and a Psychologist Guide You Through the Legal and Emotional Landscape of Divorce (Simon & Schuster/Fireside 2001). For more information: http://www.yourdivorceadvisor.com/.
For more information contact Peace Talks www.peace-talks.com
(C) 2008 Peace Talks Mediation Services, Inc.
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