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Q & A: How do I cope with stress during the divorce process?

Regardless of whether you married a few months ago, a few years ago, or have been together for decades, you meant it when you said, “I do.” Like most people getting married, you planned to be in a happy relationship for life. You did not expect to get divorced.

Life brings change, notwithstanding your intentions when you entered into your marriage. This is an inevitable reality. People change, circumstances change, and goals and desires change. For whatever reason, change has affected you and your relationship, and you now find yourself considering divorce. The emotions associated with the ending of your marriage often run from one extreme to another. You may feel relief and a sense of readiness to move on with your life, without the person you selected as your partner. You may feel, in addition to or instead of relief, emotions that are quite painful: anger, fear, sorrow, a deep sense of loss or failure, perceived inadequacy, worry over an uncertain future. These feelings are natural to the human condition, and you should not attempt to disregard your emotions as you go through the divorce process.

It is essential for you to find support, so you can cope with all the strong emotions you will inevitably feel as you go through the dissolution process. Reaching out to your support network is important– talk to friends, family, or your therapist about your emotions and your divorce. Your attorney will counsel you through the divorce process, but do not attempt to use your attorney in place of your support network. Your attorney is not trained to provide you the type of counseling you need to deal with stress in divorce, and you will incur unnecessary attorney fees if you look to your attorney for anything other than legal counsel.

That said, having a clear understanding of the divorce process, and what to expect as you work with your attorney to navigate through that process, can help you better manage your emotions. It can help you understand your rights and obligations, reduce acrimony when you learn what the law prescribes, and make better decisions as you deal with your spouse, your children, and your emotions. Also, understanding the divorce process can give you the knowledge necessary to begin to see a future outside of your marital or domestic partner relationship. You are best served to use your support network and search inside yourself, to clarify your intentions and goals for the future.