25 Tips for Living Together During Divorce
The following is a collection of 25 tips for living with your soon-to-be ex during divorce proceedings. These are key divorce tips that will help anyone getting a divorce, not only those divorcing in Georgia. Good divorce advice for this particular situation was hard to find. If you are depending on divorce lawyers to give you the best advice in this situation, think again…
Absolutely keep a daily diary or log (it is probably in your best interest to not let your spouse know you are doing this). I maintained mine online using Google Docs. This is your new friend – I was told by my lawyer to jot down some notes on a calendar regarding my spouse’s comings and goings, discussions, etc. – this is the very least you should do everyday. My log is easily over 200 pages single-spaced – I admit I may be a bit extreme, but in this case the more information you have the better. Record things like: discussions, significant events, witnesses to discussions and events, comings and goings (you and your spouse), times left and returned, alcohol and drug use, appointments, legal events, spouses car mileage, etc. Just the facts – when and if you need this information in the future, no one will care about your feelings. When writing, be as objective as you can (remember that you are biased) – do not embellish or try to make you spouse look bad – it won’t help or work. Keep your log up to date, and organized.
- You will most likely have arguments, but NEVER argue in front or within ear-shot of your children – they do not deserve the added pain you will cause them by doing so. NEVER let your arguments get physical. Maintain personal space and do not behave in a threatening manner. Take the high road… Do not swear, name-call, or put-down your spouse. It is a difficult thing to do (I do know), but in time, you will feel better for behaving this way. Keep the environment at home as low-key as possible. Take comfort in knowing that your self-control will drive your spouse insane. Only call the police if all other efforts (such as leaving) have been exhausted or if you feel physically threatened. If your spouse continues to fight, yell, or threaten you (especially when the children are around), let them know you will call the police if they do not stop. If they do not stop, call the police to intervene.
- It is best to have ‘discussions’ about the divorce / relationship in a public place where you will both be on your best behavior. Schedule a time / place for you and your spouse to meet to discuss issues – try to avoid doing it at home. Coffee shops and libraries are perfect places to this – keep it cool. When you argue with your spouse, stick to the facts and set aside your emotions. Your self-control will only help you during this difficult time.
- Take care of yourself. Maintain a proper diet – focus especially on fruits and vegetables. Do indulge in chocolate or other favorite foods from time-to-time (within reason). If you plan to get yourself back out there to meet others, it may help not having an extra 50 pounds of weight on your belly. Get your proper amount of sleep – you need to rest during this time. Try to manage your stress (yoga, meditation, walking, etc). You need to find something to get lost in (hobby, sports, etc) – something to temporarily help you decompress from the stress that divorce brings. Drugs and alcohol are not an option.
- Take the time to laugh and smile even if you don’t mean it or want to. As difficult as it may seem, start looking for the aspects of your situation that really are funny – there are some buried in there.
- Do not run away from the pain-in-the-ass situation you are in – stand your ground and prepare yourself mentally for the long-haul. Nothing in this process goes fast; it is a pathetic, long, slow moving road. If you don’t have patience, this process will teach you patience – you have no other choice during this time. Do not try to escape by consuming alcohol or drugs, becoming a nymphomaniac, or oversleeping. Stay with it – it won’t go on forever (it will feel like that from time-to-time though).
- If you feel overwhelmed and it is causing depression, constant insomnia, or illness, get professional help.
- Try to be decent with your spouse (even if they cheated, etc) when it comes to the kids. Remember that when you get divorced (regardless of who caused it) everyone will lose – you, your spouse, and your children. Do your best to come together and work it out for their benefit – do what is truly best for your kids – not what you feel is fair to you and your spouse. It may be a terribly painful thing to admit that your children are better off with your spouse (even if your spouse caused the divorce). To truly love your children, you MUST do what is right for them, not you. No matter what the outcome or distance, you are a family – you, your spouse, and your children will always be a family. No matter how much you despise your spouse, if you have children, you are connected.
- Try not to put down your spouse’s friends or family during this time. Those cheap shots you take WILL get back to them and that can make for uncomfortable situations in the future. Two years from now, they may be standing next to you after your child’s recital.
- Your children will most-likely love your spouse no matter what – they should. Do not do or say anything to try to change that – that is off limits. Support your children’s relationship with your spouse (so long as there is no abuse) as you would want your spouse to support yours (kinda’ sounds like the Golden Rule – something that does apply throughout this process).
- Make your time with your children quality time. Pay attention to them and put aside all else as best as you can – you can focus on the other stuff later. Look at your children when they are talking to you – and listen.
- Step it up as a parent. Do more for your children. If you don’t already, start changing diapers, giving baths, changing clothes, and preparing meals. Learn all you can about being the best parent you can be. Read books and online resources that provide a wealth of parenting tips and information. Keep track of when and how you assist your children with daily tasks – ANOTHER GOOD USE FOR YOUR DAILY LOG!
- If you have the slightest inclination that you may have a custody fight to contend with in the future, start gathering your witnesses as early as possible. People like neighbors, teachers, friends, family, doctors, etc. will help. I created a simple little form and provided it to my potential witnesses with an envelope that was addressed to my lawyer (include postage). All you need to do is get a paragraph or so from these folks indicating their view of you as a person / parent. Doing so early helps you in a couple of ways. First, you (and your lawyer) can get an early, clear impression of where you stand in their eyes. Second, you preempt your spouse’s attempts at getting them to be his or her witnesses down the road. It is worth the effort…
- Don’t ever fully trust your lawyer – never trust your spouse’s lawyer. Your lawyer may play golf with your spouse’s lawyer on the weekends… There is a fundamental conflict of interest for divorce lawyers in divorce cases. Keep in mind that the longer and more adversarial your divorce, the more money both lawyers are going to make. You are the boss! Respect and listen to your lawyer’s opinion and options, but if you don’t agree, speak up!
- It is very helpful having a cellular phone with a decent built-in camera. It’s handy for taking photos of your spouse’s odometer, bills, documents, messy habits, etc. If it has a date/time stamp setting, be sure to use it.
- Cellular phones can also be dangerous during this time (and the time leading up to the divorce). Call records and text messages can be subpoenaed from your phone company, etc. Text messages are not necessarily gone forever when deleted from your cellular phone. It may be helpful to have a separate pay-as-you-go phone registered with anonymous contact information that your spouse does not know about. I used this phone for all communications that I would not want to see or hear about in court (perfect in my case because I started dating 4 months after filing for divorce).
- Your emails can be subpoenaed – be careful what you email. You are going to want to setup a free email account that your spouse does not know about for all ‘secure’ messages. Again, going with Google, I used Gmail.
- Expect that there is some sort or tracking software on your computer recording what you type and what websites you visit. If you are certain that your spouse is not that tech savvy, still expect it. You may want to install some tracking software of your own. There are tons online and I suggest you get one that logs keystrokes and takes periodic snapshots of what is on your PC’s screen. You are going to want access to a computer that your spouse does not have access to. Leave your home PC for checking movie times, etc. [wp_ad_camp_1]
- Record all conversations with your spouse via digital recorder in your pocket. Sony makes some great little models that work very well for around $60 (it is worth the expense). Be sure to purchase a model that has a USB port that will allow you to easily move and organize audio files to a computer. It very well may be illegal to record without your spouse’s knowledge – talk to your lawyer about how to proceed here. Sometimes letting your spouse know that you will record a conversation (with their agreement) will keep you both on your best behavior.
- At home and on the phone, behave like you are being recorded at all times. Don’t say or do anything that will come back to haunt you in court. You certainly don’t want some things to show up in your divorce records, so be decent. It only takes the filing of some motions to have things added to your public divorce records.
- Prepare yourself for the fact that you may lose some friends over this divorce – even some you never imagined would side with your spouse. Right or wrong, people you thought were your friends may end up supporting your spouse. If that’s the case and you have been betrayed, they weren’t your friend anyway – move on. This is especially true in the event that you and your spouse were friends with another couple. Do not say anything to any friends (no matter how close you are to them) that you wouldn’t want to hear later in court.
- Stash some cash… Start saving money as best as you can. Cut down on needless expenses and focus on accumulating a chunk of cash that you will need when this is all done. Sell things you don’t need / want anymore – use EBay or Craigslist or whatever you need to. Be very careful about hiding money – don’t open a bank account or fund… it will be found if it gets to that point. Perhaps a safe deposit box opened by a trusted friend or relative may suit your needs (you may be asked if you have any hidden money or safe deposit boxes, so be prepared). Do not do anything that is illegal.
- Start using a separate checking account at a new bank. Be sure to have any direct deposits moved to this new account. Also, remember to have any auto-debits directed to this new account. Watch your accounts closely for any unauthorized access / transactions.
- If you are still living with your spouse, maintain status quo and continue to pay your share of the household bills if you have always done so. Continue to clean and/or perform your regular household duties. Keep records… Hey, another use for that daily log you should be keeping!!!
- Maintain a positive attitude. The situation is terrible – your life is not. The situation will not remain as difficult as it is now. If you work together and keep your children at the forefront, things will improve – guaranteed. Look at this a learning opportunity and a chance at a new life.
- Above all, TRY TO BE POSITIVE!!! This is the best divorce advice I can offer up. If you remain positive about this difficult situation, you will come out so much stronger.