Preparing for Divorce By Forming the Proper Mindset for Divorce

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In my new book Nothing Says a Good Day Like a Divorce…If You Prepare for It! a step-by-step guide for preparing for divorce, being published in the next couple of months, I spend an entire section on explaining how to form the proper mindset to prepare for divorce and get through divorce, and the importance of doing so.  

The guide provides you with the knowledge to get organized and financially prepared for divorce, but also provides you with the information you need to form the proper support team and proper mindset for making it to and through the divorce process. Famous self-help writer and motivational speaker, Edmond Mbiaka, said, “the strength of your mind determines the quality of your life”. I think nothing holds truer when one is preparing for divorce and going through it.

I often describe my preparation method as a holistic one, recognizing that one must be prepared financially, must have their documents organized, must know how to choose the right attorney, and other steps for being prepared for divorce, but will not fare well in the divorce if they don’t also prepare mentally.

The book discusses forming the proper support team in order to be prepared for divorce. As part of the support team, I think it is imperative to have a therapist or mental health professional one can speak with about what they are going through. I believe this applies to everyone preparing for the divorce process, even those that expect it go smoothly and amicably. We are in essence emotional beings and in order to think clearly and make proper decisions we need to have someone help us process our subconscious and conscious thoughts, feelings and emotions. Ideally, the person is a trained professional in doing so.

I emphasize in the book that in order for an individual to take control of the divorce process and achieve the best possible outcome, their decisions must be rational rather than emotional. Having a therapist to help one work through their emotions and assist them in redirecting negative emotions is extremely important. However, simply redirecting negative emotions is not enough to get to an ideal frame of mind for preparing for divorce, surviving the arduous journey through the divorce process, and definitely insufficient to thriving thereafter.  

In fact, I think that forming the proper mindset is crucial to your success during and after divorce. Have you ever heard the saying, “if there is a will, there is a way”, or the one that goes, “mind over matter”? Divorce is no different. Lance Armstrong said, “Knowledge is power, community is strength and positive attitude is everything.” Lets forget about his doping scandal for a minute, and recognize that no one could win the Tour De France seven times without a certain amount of mental grit.  I truly believe that positive attitude is everything, but believe that one must know what positive attitude looks like in terms of a divorce.

Preparing for Divorce by Forming the Proper Mindset

In Nothing Says a Good Day Like a Divorce…If You Prepare for It I explain,

“Divorce can get very messy and very costly. Neither you nor your attorney may be able to control the cost of divorce if your spouse or your spouse’s attorney is especially difficult. Therefore, before you go into a panic about your finances and the amount of debt you may have to accrue in order to survive during divorce and thereafter, break your mindset about finances into two boxes. In one box you have the cost of divorce and in the other you have the price of divorce.”

“The price of divorce is how much you actually pay. This is the hourly rate and the retainer you pay your attorney. This is the actual amount of money you have to pay to have your documents filed, hire experts to assist in the divorce, and any other expenses you may encounter along the way.”

“The cost of divorce is the effect you allow it to take on your life. The cost you will bear if you fail to pay a specialized attorney for their services and knowledge. The cost it will have on your life if you do not invest in the correct support team to help you through the divorce process and prepare for a life post-divorce.”

Forming the proper mindset doesn’t just apply to forming the proper financial mindset. It’s not that easy. You must also do some deep self-reflection. As described in the book, “When in a relationship and especially during marriage, it is very easy to lose track of who you are as a person, as an individual. We associate ourselves with being a spouse, a parent, a breadwinner or homemaker. In fact, every experience in our life makes us who we are at any given point in our lives. Some serious self-reflection will help you separate yourself from your role as a spouse and really help you gain independence as a person separate and apart from anything else.”

With self-reflection comes acceptance, “the goal is to really take account of your emotions, realize that you both need to take a certain amount of responsibility for your actions and feelings, and while that may not excuse certain behaviors in any way, it does tame decisions based purely on emotions.”  

The consequences of self-reflection and acceptance can be the feelings of sadness and loss. So, in an effort to form the positive mindset, the next step is gratitude. I am not a therapist and I do not have any advance degrees in psychology, but, as a divorce and family law attorney, I have been counseling people on how to prepare for divorce and through the divorce process for 15 years. I believe that a positive mindset is extremely important in making it through confidently and successfully. In addition to the all of the other steps I already described, in order to gain the required positive outlook it is absolutely necessary to form a practice of gratitude.

In the book, I explain the exercises I give my clients to form a practice of gratitude that I think serves divorcees best in preparing for and surviving divorce, and ultimately living their best life thereafter.  “I give most of my clients an exercise to do at the very outset of the divorce process, or at the beginning of wherever they are on their road to divorce. I tell them to sit down with their journal, the specifics of a divorce journal are described earlier in the book, and list all the negative emotions, feelings, and thoughts they have toward their spouse, their divorce, and their life at that moment. Then, I ask them to flip every one of the negative aspects they have written down around into a positive statement.” This is just a small snippet of the section and of the exercises I give clients and the readers of the book, but you get the idea that if we turn our negatives into positives nothing seems as bad. It allows us to control our emotions by flipping them around! It helps us realize that we choose to be positive and with practice it becomes easier and easier to control our emotions and lead a positive life through anything – even divorce.

You are probably thinking – wow!! Forming a proper mindset takes time, effort and real work. Everything in life that is worth doing takes time and effort. You will have a lot on your plate before and during the divorce, but let me assure you following the steps I outlines to form a proper mindset will be the most enjoyable steps of the process, giving you the inlet to your soul and an outlet for the demons that haunt you.

The last step to forming the proper mindset is finding an activity to focus on rather than solely focusing on the obstacles that surround you during the divorce process. This is imperative to redirecting the negative energy and having something that brings you joy instead. In the guide, I provide some additional steps on how to find an activity, how often to participate in the activity and whether it should be a new activity or one you continue. However, I do not want to make this post a book, so I will just say that keeping yourself busy with something other than divorce during the divorce is a must. Trust me, your psyche, your attorney, your wallet and therapist will thank me!

The ultimate goal of any individual going through divorce is to come out on the other side financially secure, with your integrity intact, and without having destroyed your mental health, the relationships you hold most dear and your family. The only way to accomplish these goals is to properly prepare for the divorce and make the proper decisions while on the journey.  In order to do so, you must form the proper mindset.

I hope this gave you some insight on some of the steps I think are imperative for preparing for a divorce, and coming out of it proclaiming, “Nothing Says a Good Day Like a Divorce!”

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