Divorce is primarily an adversarial process; therefore, it should come as no surprise that there are going to be some bumps along the way. It is important to accept that there are going to be rough days. The trick is learning how to deal with these rough patches so you can maintain your sanity and also make clear and rational decisions through the divorce process.
Take Time for Yourself
Taking time for yourself is one of those things that everyone knows to do but may not necessarily make it a priority. On top of your daily demands: work, child care, managing a household, etc. you will also be juggling requests from your attorney to provide certain documents, statements, or be available for meetings. If you do not make time for yourself you are going to run yourself down emotionally and physically.
Making personal time doesn’t mean you have to book a getaway vacation, but it does mean that you should take some time during the week to do what recharges or reenergizes you. Take a walk, workout, read a book, or watch your favorite show. I’ve seen clients run themselves so ragged that they are ready to give up and just give the other party whatever they want just to be done with the divorce. You do not want to make an irrational decision against your interest because you are overwhelmed or frustrated.
Have a Support Network
Contested divorces often mean that there is going to be a plethora of accusations, mudslinging, and the revealing of some very personal marital moments. This process is emotional and often brings out the worst in people. For the more egregious cases, involving domestic violence, child abuse, or like situations, I generally recommend that clients find a counselor they can meet with to work through the emotions and trauma. Counseling may not be appropriate for every person, or necessary. That said, what is important is having a solid support network you can turn to on hard days.
It is easy to disconnect from those around you. I often see clients cut off their support networks because they are ashamed, embarrassed, or scared to share the personal details of their situation. Having a safe space and support network does not mean telling all your friends and family, it means having the people that you can trust and turn to that will keep your confidence. Whether it is a friend, family member, or clergy member it is important that you have a safe space to vent and work through your emotions. Ask your support system to be there for the hearing, or to be available after the hearing to talk or meet.
As the Estorga Law Firm, PLLC, can explain, It is going to feel like things are going full speed or at a crawl. Either way it is important that you stay organized. Make sure you have a binder or folder to keep copies of all documents provided to you by your lawyer. If your attorney is requesting certain documents, make sure you have copies for yourself. If you are providing copies of text messages, organize them chronologically. If you are providing photos, make sure to provide a separate document that describes the photo and people in it. Keep a calendar and make sure you are scheduling any upcoming attorney client meetings, hearings, deadlines, etc. Going to court, you want to be just as prepared and organized as your attorney.
While it is your attorney’s job to represent you, it is your job to make sure you’ve provided your attorney with as much information as you have access to. It may get overwhelming, at first, to remember every little detail or find every text or email that is relevant. That is okay. If you are organized, it is easier to remember what documents or information you have or haven’t provided. Also, journal. I tell my clients to start writing down the events that transpired during the marriage and put them in a narrative form. I also tell my clients not to worry about what is or isn’t relevant, write down what you want your attorney to know and add to it as you remember. Nobody expects you to sit in an attorney’s office and articulate every issue in a one- or two-hour meeting.
Contested divorces do not happen overnight and the stress of the process will catch up with you at some point if you are not caring for yourself. You need time to decompress so you do not become overwhelmed with the process, you need people around you that you can turn to, and you need to be organized so you do not lose track of what is happening in your case.