Everyone has a different story of their divorce. Maybe you had been married for decades. Maybe you have children. Maybe the divorce was your idea and maybe it was forced upon you. Maybe you and your (former) spouse agreed that separation was best. Maybe you are relieved, maybe you are heartbroken, or maybe you feel both emotions at the same time.
No matter how you got here, divorce can be one of the toughest events you will face during your lifetime. The process can be long, stressful, and emotionally draining. No matter the length of your marriage, you need time to mourn and transition into your new life. Below are some encouraging guidelines for newly single parents to help ease this transition:
Seek Support for Yourself
After obtaining a dissolution of marriage, it is common to feel completely alone, but it is important to realize that this does not have to be the case. Reach out to family and friends for support, if needed. If you find yourself still feeling lonely or depressed, speak to a mental health professional to see if you could benefit from counseling and/or therapy. When you are a parent, it is important to remember that you must prioritize your needs over the needs of others. You cannot be the best parent for your children if you are not taking care of yourself.
Seek Support for Your Children
Children also need support during this challenging time, even if they appear fine on the surface. If you notice your children struggling with the transition, begin interviewing child psychologists. If you are unsure if the divorce is having a negative impact on your child outside of the home, speak with your children’s teachers or school counselors. Make sure that those professionals know that you are worried that your children might be silently struggling with this huge life event. Maintain an open dialogue with your children so that they feel safe and comfortable discussing these life-changing topics with you.
Become Financially Self-Sufficient
Now is the time to become self-sufficient financially. Take time to learn how to make a family budget and take a critical look at your new financial landscape. Now is the time to decide if you can afford to go back to school, enter a new profession, or get back into the workforce if you were a stay-at-home parent.
Learn to be Alone
Being alone does not mean being isolated. It just means not being coupled up, or in a rush to do so. While you may miss the companionship of your former spouse, it is often beneficial to spend the time following your divorce focusing on yourself. This does not mean you have to stay alone forever. Give yourself some time to heal and critically think about the qualities you are looking for in your next relationship. If you rush into a relationship, you will likely feel unsatisfied when the emotions of your divorce settle down. Give yourself time to heal before jumping back into the dating pond.
Work Together with Your Former Spouse
It is beneficial for children to see their parents as a parental unit, no matter how hard it may be for you to get along with your ex-spouse. Do not bad mouth the other parent around your children. It is also beneficial for the children if both parents try to follow the same routine and maintain the same rules at their separate houses (when possible). This provides a necessary consistency for children to follow. However, for some families a separation means that one parent has chosen to exit the family and not be involved in the children’s lives. If this is the case in your family, seek professional advice from a counselor or therapist on how to discuss and handle this issue with your children.
Forgive and Move On
This is a lot easier said than done, but now is the time to focus on the future and what lies ahead. Put your energy into becoming the best you can be and working towards your goals rather than lamenting the past. Stewing over what went wrong or what could have happened is not going to solve your problems, so attempt to let it go and move forward.
If you or someone you know is contemplating getting divorced, contact The Law Offices of Kathleen E. Shaul at 314.499-1476 to discuss your case and schedule a confidential consultation with an experienced Missouri divorce attorney.