You are going through a divorce, what do you do now?
- Don’t panic! This “process” is one of the most difficult and life changing events that will ever happen to you. You will never be the same: emotionally, spiritually, physically, or personally.
- If you or your family is in immediate danger—LEAVE! Find a safe place to stay until you can get legal protection. You may need to get a restraining order or have a judge appoint an emergency “protective order.” Contact the police, a battered women’s shelter or a church in your area.
- Get yourself a “family law” attorney. Even if you have no children, these professionals are much better equipped and specialized in divorce law. By pass the recommendations of “family friends” for an attorney. Get your own counsel so that you may be 100% truthful and not feel guilty discussing the events that led up to this heartbreak.
- Reach out to your support system; don’t be ashamed, even if you are. Sometimes people will not understand or want to get involved. That’s ok. It’s their choice. Find people who will support you. Explain to family and friends what you are going through and you are going to need them. You will need them for support, perhaps financially, emotionally, and sometimes, just to listen and not judge.
- Find a faith based church. Even if you are not religious now, there are people there who will help guide you through your new spiritual journey of healing and support. The first times you go there, you may not feel like you belong. But, please give it time. As you open up your heart, so will they.
- At the church, you can schedule individual meetings with your deacon or pastor to talk about the faith based guidance of divorce and its meaning in the church. But, these leaders are also trained to deal with the weeping hearts of those in need. So, don’t be afraid to tell them everything. They will not judge you. They will give you a baby step action plan to improve the immediate situation. They will also provide long term insight into your need for religious support.
- Seek out a licensed psychologist or psychotherapist for you and your children. You will want to go alone, send the children individually, and sometimes all together. Divorce changes people forever. These little creatures don’t understand why their life is being turned upside down. They will need more work, and LOVE, than you do during this time. Most often, these services are provided to you through your healthcare insurance for a co pay. If you do not have this resource, there are community churches that will provide free counseling if you are a member.
- Don’t believe by going to church or counseling you are going to be fixed immediately after one or two sessions. This process is a lifelong commitment to understanding you, what went wrong, how to avoid it next time, and what your next steps should be.
- Accept that this “process” is happening. Despite all the hopes and dreams you had for your future, it’s never going to be the same. We all grow up believing in the fairy tale wedding and a love that lasts forever, but sometimes closed doors need to STAY shut, so new ones can open.
- If you are unemployed, develop of game plan of survival for you and your family. Blanket your contact list to see where you can get a job. It probably won’t be your dream job by any means, but you need to get back out there and provide financial support for your family. This distraction will also help you reconnect with others and help define yourself worth again.
- Join a social club of an activity you once enjoyed. If you used to love sewing, then join a sewing group. If your neighborhood has a mom’s group, join it. There is nothing more refreshing then to learn that you are not the only one with problems. It is a healthy distraction, and the bonus is, you will meet some amazing people.
- Follow all of your attorney’s advice. If they tell you not to meet up with your ex at your old home that you designed and loved, there is a reason for it. Your safety may be in danger. You never know who you were actually married to until you get a divorce. Those feelings and anger can sometimes turn nice people into dangerous ones.
- Sometimes the divorce process may take a year or more to settle. Don’t stop living your life. Begin living your life. This is a time of rediscovery for you. It’s one of the hardest milestones you will encounter. You will learn so much about yourself, who you are, who you want to be, and who you do not ever want to be again.
- Remember, God does not allow bad things to happen to you. Bad things happen as a part of life, but they are designed to bring you closer to seeing what the true promise of God’s will is. Once you stop chasing the wrong things, the right ones will find you if it’s God’s will.
- Ask for help. There are lots of resources and organizations who are willing to help. You will find a list on this site of everything from finding donated suit to getting a free cell phone for emergencies.
- Recognize that even when you final believe you are healed, moving on, starting over, that there will always be hurt, regret, memories and feelings associated from what happened to you. Don’t bury them. Learn from them. When you see yourself repeating the same pattern, get out! We are creatures of habit because it’s comfortable and what we know.