The truth is, no one gets married thinking they will end up in a divorce years later. But sadly, that can happen. In fact, more than 40% of married couples in the United States end up in a divorce. And even though it’s not ideal, you can still learn how to make this process as easy as possible.
Getting a divorce is usually a very ugly, messy, and painful experience. You’re forced to deal with a lot of negative feelings at the same time. You’re in pain because it ended, but you’re also fearing the unknown. You might also feel a little relief if the marriage has been toxic or even abusive. But most of the time, you’re angry and frustrated. Some people find it very hard to adjust to a new, single life, especially when getting divorced wasn’t your idea in the first place.
This can be even more painful when you didn’t see it coming. But even when you did see it coming, you can never be ready for it, not even when it was your decision. After all, you’re ending something that you once thought would last forever. You’re saying goodbye to the person you’ve shared your bed with for many years, the person who was there for you in both good and bad times, and maybe even the mother/father of your children.
While getting divorced is not an easy task, you need to prioritize your well-being and try to make the process as painless as possible. If you don’t learn how to deal with your own feelings of frustration and pain, you’ll allow your sadness to turn into anger, which will make the process even more complicated.
Read on to discover the 19 most efficient ways in which you can make your divorce as painless as possible according to relationship experts, mediators, and divorce lawyers!
1. You need to make sure it’s what you want.
Firstly, and very importantly, you need to make sure getting divorced is what you want. As Angie Hooper, a lawyer and certified professional coach have explained, in order to make the process as easy as possible, you need to make sure you really want this divorce to happen.
According to Hooper, this is a huge decision that shouldn’t be made overnight. Also, it can be a very stressful time, as you’re going to have to deal with a lot of papers and meetings with your lawyer, that’s why you need to make sure you want this divorce to happen.
If you’re 100% sure it’s the right call for you, you must think about what you want and what you’re willing to give up.
As Hooper has said, “All divorces have to balance speed, finances, and emotional impact. Without knowing your ‘must haves’ and your ‘negotiables’ in each category, you’ll end up with a divorce that leaves you feeling damaged, disempowered, and unable to move forward.”
In fact, this is the most common fight between couples who want to get a divorce, deciding who gets what explained Dr. Carissa Coulston, a psychologist and relationship expert at The Eternity Rose.
She added that a lot of couples focus on the wrong things, such as who gets the car, or who gets the expensive TV you just bought, but there are a lot of things more important than that. Coulston recommends trying to think about what you really want from this in the incipient phases of the divorce process.
Also, she recommends being straightforward about what you want and also what you need. It’s also important to understand that just because you want something, doesn’t mean you’ll get it. You need to be OK with the fact that even though you want something, your spouse might need it more than you, so try to be understanding and ready to compromise.
2. Always prioritize your children no matter what.
According to Emily E. Rubenstein, founding partner of the Law Office of Emily Rubenstein, a divorce and family law firm in Beverly Hills, people need to understand that divorce usually involves compromise.
It’s not always easy, in fact, it can be very stressful at times and certain compromises might be hard to accept, which might make you feel ready to fight over the smallest things. However, no matter what you do, you need to make sure you’re prioritizing your children and thinking about their well-being.
When you put their well-being before your own, you’ll start to feel more at peace with certain compromises. After all, being able to compromise is key to having a healthy divorce, especially when there are children involved.
3.No matter how much you despise your partner, you need to love your children more.
According to Heather M. Garner, a therapist who specializes in sex and relationships, having this in mind could make your divorce process way easier and pain-free for everyone involved. Even though your marriage didn’t work out, it’s still important to remember that you loved each other and now your priority should be your children’s wellbeing.
You need to learn how to co-parent together and still manage to be a happy family even though you’re not married anymore, Garner added. Also, you need to make things work considering you’re always going to be present in each other’s life since you share children together.
But even though your family will look different compared to the conventional ones, you can still manage to make things work for the sake of your child.
4. Consider therapy.
As Jonathan Cohen, a divorce attorney and co-founder of the firm Cohen & Winters has explained, probably the best thing you can do for yourself in order to make the divorce process less painful is to seek professional help.
Therapy is good for both parents and it can help them deal with all the negative feelings that usually go hand in hand with a divorce. As previously mentioned, getting a divorce is never easy, it can be very frustrating, painful, and stressful at the same time.
Dealing with all those emotions at the same time might affect your mental state and your well-being, that’s why it would be ideal to talk to a therapist. You don’t have to handle everything by yourself, and sometimes it’s good to let other people help you, especially when we talk about divorce, which is a big decision.
As Cohen has explained, even though he’s an attorney, he still believes it’s vital to seek professional help. While attorneys take care of all your papers and legalities, you’re the one that needs to take care of your mental state. The faster you learn how to deal with those negative feelings, the better you’ll be in making the important decisions in your life, he added.
Cohen also joked about the fact that you shouldn’t treat your attorney as you would treat a therapist. After all, they get paid by the hour, so you’ll be charged a lot more if you’re wasting the time complaining about your problems.
5. Consider mediation.
Mediation is very important if you want to make the divorce process as easy and amicable as possible. This is also a very common method to help couples negotiate a divorce settlement with the help of a neutral facilitator.
Mediation helps to make the divorce process more efficient and also less expensive, as it doesn’t cost as much as a court trial or a series of hearings would. According to Dori Goikhman, an attorney-mediator and founder of Off the Record Mediation Services, divorce mediation is a very good option for couples who want to resolve their problems confidentially, while also making the experience less stressful.
In fact, mediation has proved very efficient in helping both parties find a common ground and rebuild their trust. This is especially important when there are children involved and you need to make sure they’re not seeing their parents fighting all the time over the smallest things.
According to Dori Shwirtz, a divorce attorney and marital mediator who works for Divorce Harmony, this is the best option for those who want to make their divorce process as amicable as possible. The mediation will make it easier for you to make decisions that work for you both.
At the same time, you’ll be able to communicate with your spouse face to face, without having to let your attorneys communicate for you instead. The mediation will help you find a common ground by communicating directly, which will also prevent miscommunication.
6. Try not to get into that fight mode.
It’s normal to get very emotional during the divorce process, however, you need to make sure you’re not getting into that fight mode. Reverend Ronnie Roll, an ordained interfaith minister, certified conflict resolution specialist, and founder of Hearts Unlimited recommends avoiding this impulse at all costs.
Just because you decided to call it quits doesn’t mean you should treat each other as enemies now. According to Reverend Roll, people should try to avoid seeing divorces as box arenas where they need to win no matter what. You need to be thankful for those beautiful moments that you’ve spent together and still learn to respect each other even when it’s over.
Always remember that you decided to marry this person because you loved them very much and wanted to spend your life with them. Just because it doesn’t work out as planned doesn’t mean they’re your enemy. Do not let ego or fear destroy a beautiful bond.
7. It’s important to have support during your divorce process.
Everything can be manageable when you have good friends or family members by your side. Especially in those hard times of uncertainty, you need people to support you and be there for you.
You need to know that you can rely on them during your divorce process, because the reality is, it won’t be easy. You’ll have to deal with a lot of mixed emotions, but having someone you can count on is very important.
Besides helping you to move on in a healthy matter, your good friends will also help you make sure you’re not letting your emotions affect your proceedings.
8. Setting boundaries is also important.
According to Sam Nabil CEO and Lead Therapist for Naya Clinics, you need to make sure you’re not mixing the people that support you with your legal team. While it’s important to have moral support during these hard times, you need to make sure you’re not going to ask your friends for legal advice, just like you’re not looking for emotional support from your divorce attorney.
It’s vital to set boundaries between the two and understand their role in the divorce process. According to Nabil, all divorce legal details should only be discussed with your attorney, while your friends should be there to support you and nothing more.
9. Or you can think about a collaborative divorce.
If you want to cooperate but want a little more protection than mediation has to offer, Goikhman recommends thinking about a collaborative divorce instead.
“In a collaborative divorce, the parties are each represented by their own attorneys, but the attorneys promise to work together towards a friendly resolution,” Goikhman added. The advantage is that it’s not as expensive and you can have a similar result.
10. Organize your finances.
As Rubenstein has said, now would be the perfect time to organize your finances. She urges people to organize their financial records as soon as possible and make sure they have all the materials they need. Also, she recommends knowing your assets and debts and also checking your credit score.
Your finances are very important and these things will likely come into play, so you need to be prepared, Rubenstein added.
11. You need to make sure you know everything about the divorce process.
Not knowing a lot about the divorce process might complicate things even more, especially when you hear a lot of harsh stories from your friends or family members. Misinformation could easily contribute to an unproductive mindset and make you feel overwhelmed.
According to Erik Wheeler, a mediator with Accord Mediation, misconceptions and fear have the potential to make people more aggressive and can lead to unnecessary conflicts. The best thing you can do in this situation is to inform yourself and read more about this topic, in order to know what to expect.
12. Seeing a couple’s counselor together might also be a great idea.
A lot of people might find it very strange to see a couple’s counselor together after already deciding to divorce. However, this might be a great idea in helping both of you express your needs and try to find a common ground in order to make the divorce process as friendly as possible.
As Laura Goldstein, a marriage and family therapist has explained, people should get over the idea that a couple’s counseling is appropriate only for those who want to repair their relationship and make things work. In fact, it can be a very good option for those who want to put an end to their marriage forever, while also making it as painless as possible, she added.
13. Be grateful.
You might not see a lot of things to be grateful for, since getting divorced can be so painful and messy. But according to Andrea Hipps, a divorce coach and author of The Best Worst Time of Your Life: Four Practices to Get You Through the Pain of Divorce, people should concentrate more on being grateful for their former partner.
As Hipps has explained, we’re so eager to point out the other person’s mistakes and identify their flaws, that we forget about our own. If you want to have a happy and united family even after getting a divorce, you need to learn to be grateful for the other parent.
It won’t always be easy but seeing your kid happy it’s definitely worth it.
14. Try to avoid DIY divorces.
According to Rubenstein, taking the DIY route when it comes to a divorce might not exactly be a good idea, especially when you have children or other assets. While it’s true that DIY divorces can work for some people, it’s still a good chance you’ll make a lot more mistakes, she added.
“Law is complex, and there are strategic realities. Much like chess, the same move played at one point wins the game or played a step too late can lose the game,” she continued saying. Also, people need to understand that even though you wish to make the process less expensive, you’ll end up paying more if you’re forced to hire a good attorney to clean up your mess.
As Rubenstein has added, a good divorce attorney will be there for you to help you and make you feel safe during the divorce process. Divorces tend to be so messy because people usually fight when they’re scared, she continued saying.
15. It’s vital to find the right divorce attorney for you.
Why do you need a good divorce attorney? Well, this person will likely be your advisor, spokesperson, negotiator, and trusted confidant during your divorce process. Finding someone who you can trust is very important since they’ll be representing you in court.
According to Stephen L Cawelti, a divorce lawyer based in Los Angeles, finding a good attorney is especially important when you’re looking to make your divorce as painless as possible. Also, he recommends avoiding the so-called ‘pit bull lawyers’ mainly because they will use the wrong tone in negotiations which can take your case off the rails and affect your settlement.
At the same time, these types of lawyers can make the divorce process even more stressful and uncomfortable for those involved. If your goal is to make your divorce as pain-free as possible, Cawelti recommends finding someone who’s eager to help you get the desired settlement while also protecting your rights and interests.
16. When it comes to a divorce, something less is more.
According to Katherine Eisold Miller, a Divorce Attorney with Miller Law Group, men, in particular, want their ex to agree with them on every point during the divorce process. But that’s not the right approach, Miller added.
She urges people to try to stick to simple, to-the-point communication. Try to avoid sarcasm or harsh comments regarding your ex. Also, Miller also explained that men want to make themselves seen as generous, which is also a bad idea during a divorce.
“There may be time for that later, but this is not the time that your soon-to-be-ex is going to be grateful — especially if you are the one who wants the divorce,” Miller continued saying.
17. It’s important to still respect each other during the process.
According to Cawelti, respect is very important in all relationships, even after divorce. Even though you can’t trust each other anymore, it’s still important to respect each other in order to make the divorce process as smooth as possible.
Try to set aside who’s right or wrong and find a way to make the relationship amicable, especially when there are children involved and you need to co-parent. That’s why it’s very important to have a mediator and talk to your attorneys to make sure the terms are fair for both of you.
Your needs, your ex’s needs, and your kids’ needs must all be taken into consideration, Cawelti added. You’ll manage to make the process less painful and drama-free if you learn to respect each other.
18. Don’t focus on revenge.
As Dr. Coulston has explained, it might be easy to focus on revenge when you’re angry at your ex, but it might not be a good idea. You’ll spend a lot of money if you want to make sure your ex will pay for every little thing they’ve done wrong during your marriage. After all, revenge can be very expensive and sometimes is just not worth it.
At the same time, the only situation in which is a good idea to get your revenge is when you’ve been in a physically abusive marriage or there were other exceptional circumstances. In these situations, it’s worth fighting for justice, Coulston added.
19. Last, but not least, you need to take the time to grieve.
As previously mentioned, divorce is many things but it’s definitely not easy. Grief is a natural part of the divorce process and you should allow yourself to feel it. It’s normal to feel sad when an important chapter in your life has ended.
According to Sharon Gilchrest O’Neill, a licensed marriage and family therapist and author, even when it was your decision, divorce can still bring a lot of grief to the table, alongside other emotions as well.
Allowing yourself to grieve is actually healthy and it will help you heal faster. Learning to embrace negative emotions will help you in the long run, Dr. Coulston added. Conversely, if you’re trying to avoid feeling these emotions, they’ll come back to haunt you later on, and it won’t be very fun.
Learning how to deal with your emotions from the beginning of your divorce process is very important, and you’ll see how, day by they, they will become more bearable, until they’ll finally disappear. By then, you’ll be much stronger.
Make sure to also check: How You Should Talk To Someone About Their Toxic Relationship, According to Experts.