10 Things to Always Do During an Uncontested Divorce
You and your spouse have called it quits. One of you has moved out of the family home, and you have divided up most, if not all, of your personal belongings. You have decided on an uncontested divorce to rid yourself of unnecessary stress and hassle. Both of you want out of the marriage, and both of you want to move on with your life.
While you might feel free as a bird and ready to live your life on your own terms again, beware. Everything that you say and do can be used against you during your divorce negotiations. If you act in an unbecoming matter in front of the wrong people, you might just lose custody of your children. You could also lose your freedom if you can’t control your temper, and physically lash out at your estranged husband or wife. Worst of all, you could permanently damage your reputation. The loss of honor could hurt your professional and personal life for years and years to come.
You are a good person. You deserve respect. Respect yourself right now by learning the 10 things to always do during an uncontested divorce to save yourself from irreparable character blemishes.
1) Let it Out, and Let it Go
You are undoubtedly a bundle of mixed emotions. Your whole life is in pieces. The security of depending on your spouse for emotional, physical and financial support is long, long gone. You are hurt, angry, sad, depressed and lonely. You deserve to feel these feelings. They are all included in the natural healing process. It might be in your best interests to get professional guidance to help you accept this major life adjustment. It might also be time to take up a new hobby or sport to keep your mind off of things. You have a new life now. It is time to let go. Once you do, you will realize that as each day passes, the new positive things in your life will replace the negative ones. One day you will wake up without anger and hurt in your heart. You will look forward to the holidays again, acquiring new things, and being independent. Once you let go, it will be much easier for you to not embarrass yourself or risk losing what it is due to you in the divorce. So, rule number one is let it out, and let it go.
2) Let Decency and Dignity Become Your New Best Friends
Never, ever, ever let yourself get out of control in front of the people in your ex’s life. This is the time for you to present yourself with honor, decency, and dignity in front of your ex’s family and circle of friends. If you have to go to your ex’s workplace, do so with a smile on your face for everyone there. Do not let your emotions get the best of you right now in front of people that can tell your ex about your out-of-line behavior.
3) Mind Your Words
You might have several legitimate gripes about your ex. He or she could have lied, manipulated, neglected and severely mentally hurt you or your children. However, unless he or she has physically hurt you, there is always the chance that you might fall in love with him or her again. Therefore, it is in your best interests to keep your ex-bashing limited to just a few close friends and family members. To make matters worse, if you say innocently that you wish your ex physical harm, it could coincidentally happen. If that arises, all fingers will point to you and you might have a really hard time clearing your name. Condition yourself now to mind your mouth and you will be grateful later for taking the high road through your divorce.
4) Your Child is a Child, Not a Weapon of Mass Destruction
Generally speaking, the easiest way for you to get under your ex’s skin is to use your children against him or her. Unfortunately, this is a game that many people play. What happens to those people years later is that they find themselves estranged from the very same children that they used as pawns in the divorce game. Spare yourself your ex’s immediate pain, and your future heartbreak, by respecting your children enough to only speak highly of your ex. Then, take it one step further and allow them to remain as close to your ex as they were when you were still living together under the same roof.
5) Take it Easy
Honestly, the end of your marriage might have felt like a prison sentence. The beginning of your divorce probably felt like a living hell. Now that reality has sunk in, you might want to let loose, party and become, well, a little promiscuous. Don’t do it. Just one morning of waking up not knowing what you did the night before can ruin your personal stability. Even if nothing horrendous happened, the guilt and shame you will feel over your reckless behavior will affect your future decision making, your self worth and your parenting skills. Make a commitment to yourself to get through your divorce without becoming reckless. You have everything to lose and absolutely nothing to gain by handing over your mental and physical stability to temporary instant gratification.
6) Protect Your Prized Possessions
Round up all of your prized possessions and ask a close family member or friend to hold on to them for you until your divorce is over. This includes jewelry, pictures, personal mementos and anything whose absence from your life would shatter you. In a fit of anger, your ex could destroy them to get back at you. Prepare for the worst and don’t let this occurrence happen to you and the things that you care about.
7) Develop a Financial Plan
Almost every separation ends with a lowered monthly income for both parties involved. Instead of allowing yourself to slip into denial, take control of the situation. Honestly assess your finances, and develop a monetary plan that puts your bank account in the black each month. This might mean taking on a part-time job, cutting back on impulse purchases, or even taking your lunch to work with you instead of going out to eat every day. The sacrifices you make now will be rewarded later when you find that you can financially take care of yourself and your children without anyone’s assistance.
8) Keep Meticulous Communication Records
One of the wisest things you can do during your divorce is to keep meticulous communication records. Every time that you talk to your spouse about your children, community property or other personal effects is a time worth documenting. Record child visitation punctuality, and payments that you make or receive. Write down anything out of the ordinary that occurs in full detail to ensure that you augment your memory with a play-by-play of who, what, how, when and where. What might seem innocent but strange to you could, in reality, be a well-played, spousal attack. Protect yourself with documentation and you will protect yourself from mental anguish later.
9) Trust Your Attorney
When something negative happens with your ex, your attorney should be one of the first ones to know. Even if the incident causes you personal discomfort to discuss, your attorney is your number-one ally in your divorce. He or she cannot help you if you will not let yourself be helped. If you do not disclose embarrassing situations, when these instances are brought up your lawyer will be blindsided and unprepared to immediately go to bat for you. Let your attorney do his or her job. Alert him or her to what is going on. Trust your attorney and stand back while he or she reverses the situation in your favor.
10) Put Your Personal Safety First
If your ex has a violent history or has behaviors that are cause for concern, speak to your attorney about his or her physically forceful outbreaks, comments or odd behaviors. One option is to have your attorney secure a TPO (Temporary Protective Order), which is commonly called a Restraint Order which is a formal court order that limits the type of contact that your estranged spouse can have with you. Violating a TPO can result in arrest so most people understand that compliance is a good idea.
Then, decide if you or your children should stay with a family member or friend for a while, or even hire a personal bodyguard. Even if your ex has never been violent, he or she might feel that they now have nothing to lose. In this case, an unexpected violent situation could occur. Change the locks on your home’s doors, and take note of being followed on the road. Listen closely for changes in your ex’s voice, demeanor or even email correspondence. Protect yourself and your children from harm as best you can now to minimize the chances of serious problems or a regrettable tragedy.