If you are considering divorce or transitioning through divorce right now, you may be worried about all of the difficult decisions that you have to make. You may be worried about not understanding things or not knowing what's best for you and your family.
Today, I'm going to share with you three of the six biggest mistakes that you can avoid during this challenging time. Knowing these mistakes will open your mind to a new way of being during this time. You can choose who you're going to be. Knowledge and information is power.
Mistake #1: My way or the highway
Digging in your heels. You probably have an agenda. You probably have some things in mind that no matter what, you're not going to give in.
You may be thinking, “I am not moving out of this house” or “I am not giving up my kids”. Or half of the time you have been the one staying home. You are the one who takes care of the kids and you know what's best for them. Or you may be thinking, “I need this much money every month” or “I can't possibly get a job now and work and take care of the kids at the same time”.
I suggest that you open your mind and decide to be flexible. You may be thinking, “I don't care what he says or does, but this is the way it's going to be”. I want you to think about this. If you're stuck and you've decided that you are not going to change your mind and remain solid in the choices and the things you're thinking about right now, a lot can happen.
Your legal expenses may go way up because it's going to take a lot more time to come to some kind of agreement. And the only way you're going to get a divorce is if you can come to some kind of agreement.
If you can't come to an agreement between the two of you, you may be putting your life in the hands of a court and a judge, someone who doesn't know you, someone who doesn't know your family, and they will make final decisions for you.
You may not end up getting what you really want anyway and have dragged this out for months and months and years and years. You may end up in a long, drawn-out court battle.
Alternatively, you can think about who you want to be during this time. You can think about what your children's other parent may want, and what may be best for them.
You can think about your kids and think about what is best for them. You can open your mind to other possibilities and maybe you can come to an agreement together. This is your choice. This is your divorce. This is your life and you don't have to be stuck.
Mistake #2: Throwing in the towel
You may feel like you've had enough. You can't take this anymore. You don't care what happens. You've been through too much agony. You're too sad. You're too upset. You feel like running away. What I suggest is you consider how you want your future to look.
Think about yourself. One year from now, where are you? What are you wearing? Who are you with? Where are you living? Where are you working? What are you doing? Create a plan for yourself one year from now and consider it. Okay. If this is where I want to be in a year. What do I need to do right now to make that happen?
So rather than just throwing in the towel, giving up, quitting, and running away, which I understand, maybe create a plan of where you want to be one year from now and how are you going to get there. One small step at a time.
Mistake #3: Betting the farm on another relationship
You may have met someone else. There may be someone at work who's paying attention to you. You just may have met someone else who sees you for who you are, and who you love. They love you. You may be in a relationship with them already or considering having a relationship with them. And that's okay. What I want you to consider is what are you going to do right now to take care of the relationship that you have the relationship with your children and the relationship with yourself so that you can bring your best self into your next relationship moving forward. Because isn't that what you deserve? Isn't that what he or she deserves? This takes time.
So if you're in a relationship with someone right now, great. But don't skip the work of healing your emotions, understanding your responsibility and the failure of your marriage, understanding where you went wrong and how you could have done things differently, where you're hurting, and all of your feelings.
Doing this work will help you to be that wonderful person that you are, and then you can bring that to all your other relationships going forward.
Mistake #4: Wanting guarantees and certainty
Certainty is one of our greatest needs in life. It's one of our greatest human needs. So to want guarantees and certainty is not uncommon, but it's not often possible. There are not many guarantees and real certainties in life, and certainly not when you're transitioning through divorce. So people carrying the weight of heavy decisions on their shoulders are often desperate to make the right choice. And that can be paralyzing. That can actually make you feel stuck.
You're unsure, you're not listening to yourself. You're not able to tap into your intuition. You're not paying attention to what your lawyer is saying what your financial expert is saying or what your coach is saying. You're so worried about making the right choice that you sometimes can't even make any choice at all.
And this is a tough place to be. This paralyzing fear of the future is a real thing. But you can't know everything that's going to happen in your future. You can't know what other people are going to do. You don't have any control over what anyone else is going to do. There are no guarantees and there is no certainty.
So where does that leave you then, when you're feeling so uncertain, so unsure, and don't know what to do? Well, it can leave you feeling very frustrated, alone, panicked, worried, overwhelmed. What I suggest is that you start to focus on the facts. Maybe you'll need a piece of paper, maybe you'll need your laptop. But let's take a look at the facts.
Where are you right now, financially, personally, in your career? How much money are you making? Ask your lawyers questions when you don't understand things, and find a financial expert to work with to ask when you don't understand things. Create a plan. And when you don't know something, ask the question, find the answer, find the facts, and make your decisions from there.
When the divorce process gets stalled or people aren't working as fast as you like them to work, maybe your partner isn't moving as quickly as you like them to move. You can count on the fact that you've put together the knowledge that you've gathered and gained and you can feel okay with the decisions that you're making moving forward.
Mistake #5: Decision-making and negotiating
Now, a lot of people, when they think of negotiating, they think it's compromising. When you're transitioning through divorce, you can often feel like if I negotiate on that, well, I'm just giving up. I'm just compromising, you know, just giving him whatever he wants. That's not negotiating. Negotiating is when you get some of what you want. Your partner gets some of what they want and your children are the center. They're the focus of everything. And you're doing and making choices and making decisions and creating plans, building a new relationship with your spouse based on negotiation. What that means is you have to be willing to open your mind, be flexible, be creative, give a little, take a little, and be willing to do what's best for your children, because that will be what's best for you. That will be what's best for your partner.
This is just on the side and doesn't really have to do with this mistake. But there was a time not too long ago when you were desperately in love with this person. You married them, you had babies with them, you built a life together. You had hopes and dreams. And that's why this hurts so much. And that's why this is so devastating, because things are changing and it's not what you hoped for. It's not what you dreamed of. It's not what you wanted. Maybe it's a change.
So when you're negotiating, you're not giving in, you're not failing. You're doing what's best for you and for your family, and you're going to move forward and you're going to have a great life and your kids are going to have a great life. And I just want you to keep that in mind.
When you're negotiating your agreements. Keep in mind that you want them to be specific, not vague or ambiguous. You want to consider as the kids get older and things change, and maybe kids want to live with you or want to live with your partner, it's okay. And in your agreement, you can put a little note saying that every year we will come back and we'll renegotiate and we'll take a look at the agreement again. And you can go into this knowing that this is a living, breathing document. When something comes up, you don't need to go to court to make change and to talk about things.
This is your family. This is your life. You love these people. So keep in mind that this agreement can be something that is looked at time and time again, and it might be something that you like to put in the agreement right now.
Mistake #6: Forgetting who the decision-makers are
I want you to remember that you are the one who is making the decisions in your divorce. This is your life. So if you're ever feeling like you're not being heard or if things aren’t going the way you expected, feel free to speak up. You and your spouse are the final decision-makers in this divorce.
I had a client who was working with a lawyer and she was saying to her lawyer that they had come up with a parenting plan together, her and her partner, and they had a separation agreement, kind of agreed on things, and they wanted to just get things moving. And her lawyer seemed like he was more focused on keeping things moving really slow.
So for whatever reason, she didn't feel like she was being heard. She ended up changing lawyers and things moved along a lot quicker and she was happier with the process. I mean, most attorneys and most financial advisors do want you to settle this as amicably as quickly as possible. I think most people have good intentions, but sometimes if you're not being heard or you feel like you don't have a voice, remember that you do.
A credible client is focused on the business of divorce, is working on healing their emotions, is prepared, asks relevant questions, comes to meetings, is organized, has worked on communication skills, and not coming to the meetings, focused on conflict and arguing and fighting so you can choose to be that person. This is your divorce. You can choose who you want to be during this time.
Hopefully, this will help you to show up in a different way to be thinking about this challenging time in a slightly different way and to go into the process a little more open-minded, and a little more flexible, remembering that you have control over who you are being during this time and keeping a focus on what's important for your children, what's important for you, what's important for your relationship with your spouse moving forward and a focus on your future.
Where do you see yourself in one month, one year, three years, or five years from now? And how are you going to show up right now that will move you one step closer to where you want to be?
Considering a divorce or going through with it can be overwhelming. While you need your time and space to process your emotions, it is also important to not lose sight of what you want and what you have. That is why I am offering a 9 days Mini Course to help you get some clarity around what is best for you and your family. Sign up today and get in touch if you have any questions.
Always remember that you are worthy, you are loved, you are perfect just the way that you are.