So many couples are working within very close proximity with one another these days that is it challenging to create space or leave the house. And your home is probably feeling especially small if you are someone contemplating divorce or just started the process and are still living your your soon-to-be-ex.
Either way, many people are considering if NOW is the right time to file or if this is the decision they still want to make. While you shouldn’t rush to make an impulsive decision just because your spouse may be annoying to you, I want to share 4 tips on what you can do now to help you decide if and when the time is right for you - aka move forward.
1. Free writing/Journaling:
I love to journal and free write! Why? Because it helps me sort through what I feel AND let's me say things I would never say out loud. You might ask yourself questions like why do I want a divorce? What am I most scared about if we get a divorce? What will be different with my life e — and if you have children, their lives — by divorce?
I strongly believe that no one should make a life-changing decision like getting a divorce during these abnormal times, so really challenge yourself on answering those questions based on normal home life, not this atypical up-close-and-personal time you’re experiencing now. However, if your current situation has led to you to confirm WHY you want a divorce, you may feel validated by your decision.
On the other hand, you may be seeing a new, positive side of your spouse and wondering if therapy might help you find common ground to rebuild your relationship. If you think that reconciliation is a possibility, please follow your heart. Sometimes hitting the “PAUSE” button helps couples see a better path forward for their relationship.
I love asking new clients what they want their life to look like in 6 months because it isn't something they often think about. We live in the past, in the "what he/she did wrong" and in a victim mindset. Instead, think about what co-parenting will like. What is the ideal relationship you would like to see between the two of you? I also encourage you to create a vision-board of your ideal custody arrangement. What pick up and drop off will look like. Perhaps you want to think about what you get to do in your free time when you don't have the kids. What have you been putting off or not allowing yourself time for. This is the time to connect to what YOU want and seeing that it is possible to dream again.
3. Plan for your future
Being home is a great time for you to begin documenting aspects of home life that may be important to custody and financial negotiations. What are the normal routines in your household? What do you want your custody arrangement to look like? Evaluate your lifestyle and expenses to get a handle on what your life costs, what monthly payments you have, how those payments are managed, how much cash is being used by everyone in the family, etc.
I also recommend reviewing and compiling bank account statements, retirement and brokerage account statements, tax returns and other financial documents for the past three years. Save them on a thumb drive for ease of storage; you will need these as your divorce progresses. I know this can feel VERY overwhelming, but you do not have to feel that way! So many clients of mine tell me afterwards what a challenge it was because they did not have access to any of this information. You will thank me one day. :)
4. Ask for professional help
Your emotions and mental state are off balance and you are all over the place. Uncertain about the future, scared of what is next, frustrated the courts are closed, to name a few. This is where 1:1 support is crucial right now. Don't navigate this path alone - ask for help. It is NOT possible to do this by yourself. It takes a village and one that you can trust, has been through the process and you can count on for support. Family and friends are wonderful, but they keep us stuck. Therapy, counseling, divorce recovery coaching are all ways to get support and move yourself forward. Your emotional state gets to shift - COVID-19 cannot take that away from you. If anything it is a reminder that LIFE IS NOW and you get to take control of your life. Your mind. Your soul. So what are you waiting for?
However it is that you plan for and envision your future, you can keep moving forward — even now.