12 Crucial Things to Know Before Getting a Divorce

There is a lot to navigate when it comes to divorce, and most of it isn’t easy. It will be one of the hardest things you will ever go through in your life, but there is also a lot of growth to be had, a lot of lessons to be learned, and many ways to make the process easier on everyone involved. Read on to find out the most common things couples say they wish they knew before getting a divorce.

12 Crucial Things to Know Before Getting a Divorce

  1. It’s going to get harder before it gets better, but it will get better
  2. Learning to depend on yourself will be one of the greatest lessons you will ever learn
  3. Setting boundaries is one of the most important things you can do for your mental health
  4. Taking care of yourself during the divorce process is hard work, but it’s necessary
  5. You can’t rush the grieving process
  6. Trying to “get back” at your ex never turns out the way you hoped it would
  7. You can advocate for yourself without going to war with your ex
  8. Going to court will end up costing you more money and more time
  9. Divorce is a process, and you can’t expect it to happen overnight
  10.  How you divorce impacts your children way more than the divorce itself
  11. It’s okay to give yourself time to figure out what your priorities are- without being pushed into making decisions based off of other people’s opinions on what you “should do”
  12. Others have gone through this and come out stronger- and you will too!

You can’t expect things to get better overnight.

Divorce is a process. There is a lot of decision-making, paperwork, and bureaucracy involved. Learning to be patient during the process will go a long way towards helping your mental health. Understand that trying to force a resolution by going to court will actually end up costing you more time in the end not to mention more money.

Taking care of yourself is crucial.

Just as the divorce process can be lengthy, so can the healing process. It’s important to take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally, even though it may feel like extra “work” for you to do. It’s some of the most crucial work you will ever do in your life. Some ways you can support yourself during the healing process:

  • Eat regular, healthy meals. Consider setting alarms on your phone to remind yourself to eat- especially during those first few weeks after the initial separation.
  • Stay active. Exercise is a great stress reliever, and it also helps increase those mood-boosting endorphins. Plus, it doesn’t hurt if you look and feel great when you are ready to enter the post-divorce dating scene!
  • Get enough sleep. Sleep can be hard to come by when your mind is whirling with all the “what ifs” and “could have beens”, but it’s never a good idea to make life-altering decisions when you’re in this state. If you can’t seem to fight insomnia, reach out to your doctor for advice.
  • Address your mental health. Mental health is just as important as physical health. You wouldn’t hesitate to see a doctor for chest pains or a broken foot, so don’t hesitate to see a therapist for anxiety and depression.

As much as you may want to, you can’t rush the grieving process. Supporting yourself for as long as it takes is the only way to make it through- and you will make it through! The strength you will gain as you learn to depend on yourself and set boundaries is one of the greatest gifts of divorce.

Waging war on your ex never turns out well.

When you’re hurting, it’s natural to want to “get back” at your ex- even if you were the one who asked for the divorce. This never turns out well. You may end up hurting your ex, but you’ll also hurt yourself and others you love- especially if you have children.

How you divorce makes a much greater impact on children than the divorce itself does. If you and your spouse choose to separate peacefully, your children will fare far better than if you duke it out in court with your ex. Mediation or collaborative law is effective, even in high-conflict divorces, so don’t count it out without at least trying it first. Going the non-adversarial route allows you to advocate for yourself without wasting more time and money than is necessary.

Do your best to drown out the excess noise and focus on what your priorities really are. It’s okay to take time to figure out what those priorities are. Remember that this is your story, and you can write it however you want to.

Not sure where to start with the divorce process? Check out these other helpful resources.

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Essential Resources

If you’re facing legal/custody battles, a mental health crisis, an urgent medical issue, serious emotional problems, including suicidal thoughts, please seek help from the appropriate professionals near you.

Suicide hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
Crisis line: 1-800-356-5395
Crisis text line: Text “help” to 741741
The National Domestic Violence Hotline
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV)

Split.fyi Resources
Split.fyi Marital Life Inventory
Divorce Lifecycle Document
Divorce Process Overview


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