“37 Things I Wish I’d Known Before My Divorce”

“37 Things I Wish I’d Known Before My Divorce” is a fantastic resource that I recommend to anyone who is considering, going through, or healing from a divorce. Mother-daughter co-authors Francine Baras and Nicole B. Feuer joined me on my radio show to discuss divorce – sometimes referred to as “uncoupling”- and how to do it well. As co-founders of Start Over Smart: Divorce Advisors LLC, they had a wealth of information to share.

Less people are getting married, but for those that do, the often-quoted fifty percent divorce rate remains steady. This indicates that even as the stigma fades, divorce will continue to happen. It appears that the profound complexities of life-long coupling will ensure that a large portion of marriages will end in divorce. So, the question becomes: how do we divorce well?

According to our experts, the average period between the initial thought and the actual filing of divorce is eight years. According to Ms. Baras and Ms. Feuer, this delay is largely fear-based. People are afraid of being alone, of financial independence, and of damaging their children. Our experts empower their clients with the knowledge they need to understand, envision, and accomplish a comfortable post-divorce lifestyle.

Divorce is devastating, even for the partner who initiates it. No one enters a marriage thinking that it will end, and it is practically impossible to go through the process without experiencing acrimonious feelings. Ms. Feuer and Ms. Baras help their clients separate these feelings from the extremely important decision-making process embedded in the legal divorce process. It is extremely important to remember that divorce establishes a new way of life that affects the entire family forever. It needs to be as carefully considered as the marriage itself – if not more so. Many people want to get it over with as soon as possible because it is so painful, but our experts advise that you do not run to an attorney. Once you make that call, you are following a path laid out for you with little understanding of where that path will lead. Instead, use the immense resources available to educate yourself, and do not rush. If you have children, your ex-spouse will be part of your life forever, so do all you can to support each other during this immensely difficult time. Communicate as much as possible, and apologize when you fly off the handle- both to your spouse and to your kids. This will help your family remain a team that can transition peacefully.

A peaceful transition rarely occurs in isolation. There is no reason to go it alone when there are so many resources available! Www.sosdivorceadvisers.com is a great place to start. Our experts also highly recommend support groups- not just during the process, but in the following years, when much of the emotional processing happens.

Divorce is not the best option for everyone. Our experts agree that couples should try their hardest to save the marriage, as statistics continuously illuminate the trauma associated with divorce. However, Ms. Feuer read a study that persuaded her to pursue her own divorce, which found that children raised in conflict zones are far worse off than those raised in peaceful separations. One thing is clear: a divorce process that worsens the conflict won’t benefit anyone! A peaceful separation is difficult to accomplish, but it’s the only kind worth pursuing.

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