HOLY F#@*! YOU'RE GETTING DIVORCED???
HOLY F@#* I’M GETTING DIVORCED:
The 6 BIG QUESTIONS YOU’LL WANT ANSWERS TO
1. WILL MY KIDS BE OK?
The short answer is, in all likelihood YES.
Most experts (and adult kids of divorce) agree it’s not the divorce that hurts kids, but the conflict. If separating eases existing conflict, and you can co-parent with minimal angst between you, the kids will come out OK.
They also learn what NOT to settle for. By watching you be true to yourself and live a life of your own choosing, they learn to do the same. They watch you and learn how to be strong, independent, resourceful, empowered, happy and successful.
While you don’t have to hide your sadness and grief from them, it’s important not to swamp your kids with it ALL the time. Share what they need to know – age and stage appropriately – and allow them their own grief. Keep the adult stuff just that – adult.
Remember, if you’re (mostly) OK, they will be OK.
2. HOW WILL I MANAGE FINANCIALLY?
By being smart and getting clarity.
Work out how much it costs to live your life, and the life you want to live. How much you need to cover the basics and more. How much for the kids to do what they need and want to do. How will that change (read: increase) as they get older? If you can, discuss this together and factor it into your financial settlement. Agree (in writing) on who will be responsible for paying what and how that will be managed. Think beyond the immediate future when negotiating and agreeing on your financial settlement.
Know what’s coming in. Watch what’s going out. BUDGET. TRACK EVERYTHING and build your financial literacy. Get help or advice if you need to.
If you can “divorce smart” (more on this in an upcoming blog) and not spend $$$$$ on legal fees, it helps. Mediation. Collaborative professionals and family lawyers. Coaching. All help keep you out of the courts and on track for a resolution that costs less – financially and emotionally.
3. WHERE WILL WE LIVE?
This may come as a surprise but... it may not be the family home and, once the initial shock of realising that has eased, you might just find that you don’t really WANT it to be.
Does that space suit your needs as a single parent? Can you manage it, financially, and also physically, as the sole adult in the household? Mortgage. Utilities. Upkeep. Maintenance. Consider the money, time and energy all of this takes and ask yourself if it’s viable as a single income, single parent family.
If it’s to be a new space, try to keep it close to the things your kids are familiar with and love – school, activities, sporting clubs, friends, extended family and... their DAD. Make it easy for them to have a strong connection with him.
Remember – you can’t eat a house. Home is where YOU and the people you love are. It’s not a building. Make sure you are deciding with your head (and your newly flexed financial muscles) as well as your heart.
4. WHAT ABOUT WORK?
Discuss with your co-parent how you will BOTH juggle your work around the kids since EVERYONE’s work and expectations (including the kids’) will need to change.
Do a work inventory. How many hours do you spend working and for what return? Is it worth the effort? Do you need to increase / decrease your hours or change roles? Will you need to re-train? How will you juggle your work with the needs of the kids?
PLAN AHEAD and think longer term than just the end of the kids’ school years. Look to when you’re 55, 65 and beyond. How much will you need to be earning to support yourself and live a good life? Does your current work have the capacity to do that? If not, what WILL?
5. HOW THE F*#@ WILL I CO-PARENT WITH HIM / HER?
With patience, practice, and empathy.
By communicating (again... upcoming blog on this soon) calmly, directly and respectfully with your co-parent. By compromising and being flexible.
By keeping the conflict out of the co-parenting relationship and by separating your role as a parent and co-parent, from your role as an “ex”.
By putting the needs of your kids above your own feelings about the demise of your relationship.
By respecting that your kids have the right to a full, rich and loving relationship with BOTH parents.
It’s not easy, but it’s possible. Get support if you need to. A co-parenting course or coaching can be invaluable.
6. WILL I BE OK?
Yes, beauty, you will.
Maybe not today. Definitely not every day. But you will.
You are strong, and you have reserves you are possibly yet to tap into.
You are resourceful. And you are yet discover just how much you already know and are capable of.
The bad days will get easier and less frequent.
There WILL be joy, laughter and light again.
Divorce and resetting afterwards isn’t easy. Finding your way can feel overwhelming and incredibly lonely. You will need resources, tools, skills and support from friends and family, from those who’ve done it ahead of you and from professionals.
Here is where your healing and biggest growth begins as you reclaim, refresh, and reset your life.