There is no such thing as a stress-free divorce. This simply doesn’t happen. Even if your relationship is reasonably good and you opt for an amicable divorce, the experience is bound to be stressful and overall unpleasant. Considering that 40-50% of marriages in the US end up in a divorce (about 10% more in California), the number of people who have to deal with this extremely trying experience is staggering. This definitely is one of the major factors that contribute to the high rate of depression and anxiety disorders.
Whilst it’s impossible to avoid issues and negativity when going through a divorce, if you are proactive, you can reduce those by a large margin. To do this, you’ll need to take care of your mental health, get help with the formalities, and master the art of avoiding confrontation.
How to Reduce the Stress of a Divorce in 4 Steps
1. Avoid arguments
Arguing is the main stressor during the divorce proceedings, so it’s the thing you need to avoid at all costs. Reading up on anger management and methods of avoiding confrontation is a good place to start.
At the very least, you should try removing yourself from the situation and taking some deep breaths. Therefore, plan your meetings in a place where you will have an opportunity to do this. It will also help if there is some calming tea waiting around.
You should also avoid criticism, which is often the first step to arguing. It might be tempting to start criticizing and blaming your spouse. However, remember that this helps no one. If you truly feel discomfort when dealing with them, try to mollify yourself thinking about how soon you won’t be obliged to do this. And the smoother your amicable divorce goes, the sooner this will happen.
2. Get help
If you are separating as friends and your emotions aren’t running too hot, your biggest problem might be legal issues surrounding the divorce proceedings. If you look up the California uncontested divorce process, you’ll see that it isn’t as straightforward as it might seem at first glance. Therefore, it’s essential to get some help with understanding the legal process of divorce beforehand. If you know exactly what to do, you will be able to streamline the entire process.
The most important thing in an amicable divorce is to settle the terms of your separation, custody, and division of assets out of court. If you can’t come to an agreement with your spouse yourself, consider hiring a lawyer. This is usually a better choice for bigger estates and cases where premarital agreements are involved.
3. Take care of your mental health
Same as you might need professional assistance in sorting out the legal details of your divorce, you should consider counseling. No matter how amicable, a dissolution of marriage and separation is a big change. Talking with a professional while going through it will help you avoid issues in the future.
However, this doesn’t mean that counseling is necessary for maintaining your mental health through a divorce. You should start with getting some time for yourself and doing things that help you relax. Talking with friends or family can be as good as counseling in some cases. You also shouldn’t forget about support groups.
It will be a good idea to exercise during this time as workouts will both, give you a way to release your frustrations and flood your body with endorphins.
Most importantly, you should take time to stop and breathe every day. Give yourself 30 minutes of calm when you do nothing but think happy thoughts that have nothing to do with your divorce. Take a bath during this time or enjoy a cup of your favorite tea. If you are getting too stressed, practice basic meditation to relax.
4. Focus on the children
If you have kids, a divorce will be an extremely stressful ordeal to them. Therefore, you need to pay extra attention to ensuring their mental health. This is the case where counseling is really the best thing to do.
You also need to talk with your spouse and develop a strategy on how to break news to the children. It’s essential to talk to them as equals and explain the situation. You must never allow them to see you arguing, so work out a plan for the conversation in advance. Your main goal must always be to make sure that kids know the divorce isn’t their fault in any way.