This is Step #1 in the process of your divorce strategy education.
I understand. You are miserable. You want this over. You want this over now, or over yesterday. I get it. I know where you are coming from and what you are dealing with, but you need to listen to me.
You need to prepare yourself for divorce. This requires getting your own act together before you go any further.
Otherwise your divorce is going to be a misdirectional disaster that leaves you more miserable than you are now with the added treat of losing up to fifty percent of your net worth.
There Are No Divorce Miracles
Having the Best Divorce starts with you. It will not happen by chance. There are no miracles in divorce court. A judge’s signature on a document legally dissolving your marriage, by itself, is not going to instantly make your life better.
Similar to building a successful business, investment, or professional practice, you will be disappointed with your divorce and what comes after if you do not take the time to first develop a clear vision of how divorce fits into a comprehensive plan for improving your life.
The Best Divorce starts with finding the mindset needed to promote change, and having at least a basic understanding of the life you want to live. Without developing this confidence and vision, you can get divorced, but you probably will not do so smoothly or with the assurance of knowing the divorce is part of a larger plan for transforming your life into something better that you already have mapped out in your mind.
You Are Part of the Problem
Is your life currently miserable? Do you feel like your spouse is stealing your happiness; sealing you off from the world; holding you back on life achievements; spending all of your money; ruining your career; polluting your children or grandchildren; fracturing your family; injecting toxicity into a relationship in ways you never thought possible?
Guess what? You are part of the problem.
The good news is that you also have the ability to make choices that make your life better. Just like you – likely without knowing it – helped create your marital problems and unhappiness, you have the ability to create something better.
Coming to the realization that you have the power to change your life is probably the most important thing you can do as part of the divorce process.
Part of having the Best Divorce is learning that you have, and have always had the power to control your own destiny, and then using that knowledge to create the life you desire and deserve. This knowledge is especially empowering for those who have been beaten down over time by chronically selfish or abusive spouses.
Define Your “Best Life”
You need to define your Best Life before you spend any more time contemplating divorce. If you could push a magic button and instantly be “living the dream”, what would that be like?
Invest the time going through what I’ll call the “Who, What, Where, When, Why and How of Separation and Life Improvement.”
Before you go any further you absolutely must be able to answer the following questions:
- Who do you want to be as a person?
- What would it take to make you happier and healthier?
- Where would you be living and what type of people would you surround yourself with?
- Why would this life be better than your life is now?
- How is divorce a necessary part of you living your Best Life?
Engaging in this analysis, or something like it, is critical. You have to have a picture in your own mind of what your Best Life will be.
Otherwise, you’ll lack serious direction in how you move forward and you will not be making purpose driven decisions when it comes time to handle the legal aspects of your divorce.
Make Time for Yourself
In complex divorce cases there is a high, positive correlation between the person’s ability to put time aside to focus on their divorce and the success rate of their divorce.
You are probably going to get ran over in your divorce if you are “too busy” to focus on the preparation and execution of your divorce.”
In my view it is mandatory to have at least four hours a week to yourself as you prepare for, execute on, and recover from your divorce. Initially, most of this time will be devoted to following steps 2-7 of divorce strategy action plan.
Later, your time will transition to being spent working with your lawyer and therapist and monitoring the progress of the divorce lawsuit once it is put in motion. Finally, this time will be needed later to help you move on from the divorce and make sure the problems plaguing your marriage are not repeated.
It is imperative that you figure out now how to make time for yourself. You are either going to have to become better at time management, cut off some non-essential activities, or both.
Odds are, if you put into place a few basic productivity measures, you will be able to come up with the few hours a week you need to make the difference in your divorce and everything that comes after.
You’ll also need time for yourself if you want to be happy and healthy after your divorce is over. It’s a good bet that your inability to manage your schedule to carve out time just for you and your relationship contributed to the failure of your marriage and has wreaked havoc on your physical and emotional health. Do you really want to let that happen again?
Take Care of Your Physical Health
Look, you can get through your divorce without lifting a weight or stepping on a treadmill. That said, you are going to be better off if you institute some form of a basic exercise program to at least maintain your physical health and serve as an outlet to shake of stress.
You should be able to find the time to find three days a week where you can do something physical for thirty or forty-five minutes. If you have not exercised in years the best thing to do after getting clearance from your doctor is to go join a gym that offers beginners classes. Many of the larger gyms and boutique fitness clubs have classes on everything from yoga and spinning to Pilates and weight lifting that start as early as 5:00 in the morning and go until 9:00 in the evening.
Further, if you are worried about being lonely after the divorce, getting involved with a sport or joining gym (especially the classes) can be a great way to start meeting new people who share the quality of having the discipline to take care of themselves.
If you have any serious or lingering health problems, you should think hard about having those problems addressed now before you get too far with the divorce process.
You are not going to be on a level playing field with your spouse if you have to contend with a serious health problem at the same time you are handling your divorce. You should not be recovering from a major surgery or treatment for something serious while you are in the middle of a divorce case.
If you have a choice, address the medical issues now and then start the divorce.
Do Not Neglect Your Mental Health
Similarly, you have to assess your emotional health before you go too much further. It is common to feel anxious, depressed, or confused when you are considering the end of a relationship. Also, these feelings can serve as the catalyst to exacerbating harmful addictions.
Your mental health is serious and cannot be ignored.
If you do not have a “clear head”, you need stop wasting time and go see a therapist. Do it now. Some of the great ones in South Florida are listed at StayMarriedFlorida.com.
You can read all the self-help books you want but it is foolish to “self-help” your mental health. Doing so takes longer, will not be as effective as professional assistance, and will likely lead to disaster if your “self-help” includes your favorite narcotic.
You need your mental health addressed now. Do not downplay the importance of or delay attention to this, especially if you have depression, an addiction, have been in an abusive relationship, or others tell you that you are “co-dependent.”
Get Your Act Together First
Getting your act together is half the battle towards improving your life immediately. During the process you might even find that you’ve already made your life better and divorce is unnecessary.
However, if you know you still must move away from your marriage you will be in a dramatically better position to prepare for developing and executing on a Best Divorce strategy that gets things over on fair terms as soon as possible and a Best Life strategy that sets you up for the life you desire and deserve after the divorce.
The next lesson in your divorce strategy education is to learn the basics of leverage and strategy.