I have often considered that going through divorce and separation is a bit like those “Choose your own adventure” stories I read as a child… not that separation is so much an adventure as it is an event, and at that, a very distressing, sad and heart-breaking event.
Ending a relationship is also a time that is full of decisions, choices and questions:
- When do you separate.
- How do you separate.
- When do you tell your spouse you want to separate?
- You’ve told your spouse.. now what?
- When do you tell your kids?
- How do you tell your kids?
- What will they say?
- Where will you live?
- How will you live?
- What can you take?
- How will you divide your assets?
- What does the future look like?
In making each decision, and answering these and many, many more questions during your separation you can choose one of two approaches:
A: be respectful and behave in a dignified and calm manner (as hard as I know that can be sometimes);
B: you can choose to behave in a way that later, on reflection, won’t leave you feeling very proud.
At it’s very most basis level, the process of separating is just that – a process. There are things that need to be done and organized and arranged.
It will often be a mixture of these two approaches.
And it’s a process that is emotional, painful and often a very sad time for your whole family.
Understandably, you won’t always keep a level, logical and objective mind-frame – and that’s okay!
But the choice you make about how you approach your separation will most likely have an impact on the approach your former spouse takes to your separation, how much resistance there is to finalizing your financial matters, and therefore how much the process of separation will cost you on an emotional and financial level. And these are really important aspects to take into account.
If you were the one who ended your relationship – remembering that you have had time to process that decision before communicating it has put you emotionally ahead of your spouse – and you have likely considered how things will look in the future. It is a good idea to remember that your spouse will need time to “catch up” to where you are emotionally – and this may take some time, and require some professional help.
The approach you take, and the reaction your spouse has to your decision to separate, may affect the timing of negotiations and how they unfold.
If communication has been a tricky thing for you and your spouse, it might be a good idea to get some professional help about how to communicate the decision to separate to your spouse.
The choices you make very early on can have a significant impact on how the process unfolds. And although you want to end your relationship, I am certain you don’t want to create unnecessary challenges moving forward – for either you or your spouse (not to mention the children!).
There are things you can do to make the process less painful and more manageable – including getting advice early from legal and financial professionals and for emotional support, from a psychologist or counselor.