Dr. Deanna Conklin Danao, clinical psychologist and divorce coach, offers insight and tips for handling situations that may arise during a divorce.
All divorces are unique. The personalities, lawyers, assets, and issues involved create a volatile environment that can lead the divorcing parties down many different paths. No matter how the path of your divorce unfolds, there are some things that almost all divorcing spouses can expect to encounter. Knowing these things, and anticipating how you will want to respond to them, will make your experience easier.
You will have strong emotions.
Divorce conjures up strong emotions including: sadness, pain, anger, grief and fear. Even if your divorce is something you wanted and/or you believe that it’s the right thing for you and your family, you will experience difficult emotions. Divorce is a stressful time and will impact you in a number of ways.
You will need extra support.
The strain of divorce will create a need for emotional and physician support. You will need a shoulder to cry on. You will need people to help you with your kids. Make sure to accept the help of friends and family to get through this difficult time and keep the door open to seeking professional support such as a therapist or financial expert. Divorcing couples should also consider professionals that are trained to help families through divorce such as a Divorce Coach or Child Specialist.
You will receive unsolicited input.
There will always be friends, relatives or neighbors who want the scoop on your divorce. They will tell you about their awful divorce or suggest you should “take him/her for everything they have.” Be wary of these Greek Choruses. Even if they mean well, they can bring out the worst in you or stir up your worst fears. Surround yourself with supportive people who want to see you navigate this as gracefully as possible.
You will not have control over the court system.
If you choose a litigated divorce, it is important to remember that the ultimate control over your case rests with the judge in your case. If you want to shape a financial and parenting plan that fits the unique needs of your family and ensure that is the plan that will come out of your divorce, choose mediation or Collaborative Divorce.
Your kids will have a reaction to your divorce.
Divorce is a major life change for kids but it doesn’t need to be devastating. There are many things you can do to reduce the negative impact and protect them during the process. Keeping your kids out of the middle of the divorce, minimizing the conflict with your co-parent, supporting their feelings about the change and creating a parenting plan that considers their personality and developmental level are all steps that you can take to help your kids get through divorce.
When you start the divorce process, consider the emotional costs as well as the financial costs. You can anticipate that this process will be difficult, but it doesn’t have to devastate you or your children. With the right support, you can come out of this phase ready to build the life you want for yourself.
Dr. Deanna Conklin Danao has been in private practice since 2006, seeing children, adolescents and adults individually and in family and couples therapy. For more information, please visit www.drconklindanao.com or call (312)493-2628.