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In this section you will find a checklist to help guide you through the initial stages of divorce.
You can use this as a touchstone as you navigate these first often tumultuous weeks and months.
We will be adding to additional checklists here as we find new ones we can recommend – please feel free to share any you have found particularly helpful with me and I will include it here if I can.
SURVIVING THE FIRST 3 – 6 MONTHS OF SEPARATION CHECKLIST
The initial stages of divorce and separation are like nothing you have ever experienced or will ever experience.
It is a time of incredible upheaval, emotional pain, overwhelming thoughts and beliefs about yourself and your partner, concern for your children if you have them, and as all this going on doing your best to hold it all together to just get through one day at a time. There’s a lot going on, and it can be so very hard to keep your feet.
That’s what this checklist is for. It’s to help ground you and support you to make the best decisions possible during what may be a traumatic and confusing time. It is not intended to be an exhaustive list.
Seek the services of a separation consultant if there is one in your area.
It can be an emotional and traumatic time especially if communication between parties is strained and difficult. A separation consultant will work with you through the entire process to assist you.
LEGALS AND MEDIATION
It is imperative you get proper and professional legal advice during this time. Source a recommended lawyer or legal professional such as a mediator who can be your advocate.
Take along a supportive, intelligent and non-judgemental friend or colleague to meetings with your legal representatives.
MONEY AND PROPERTY SETTLEMENT
See a financial adviser to go through your financial options and put off any major financial decisions until the dust has fully settled.
Once you receive any settlement funds, don’t make any massive purchases or irrevocable decisions.
KIDS AND PARENTING
As tempting as it may sometimes be to criticize your ex to your children. This is the end of your relationship with your partner – but most likely it isn’t the end of your children’s relationship with them.
As obvious as this sounds, the separation and divorce will be having a direct and powerful impact on your children. It’s important to be mindful and attentive to their needs, whilst also seeing to your own. If you need additional support from friends, family or an external organisation (Salvation Army or Lifeline, School counselors) during this time, ask for it – it won’t be forever, and it may be the sanity and relationship saver you need during this time.
EMOTIONS AND SELF CARE
This is an extraordinary time in your life, one you may never go through again, and your emotions should be expected to be extraordinary too. No matter what your emotional journey has been like up until now, expect stronger emotions to be part of your journey.
Be careful to avoid any major declarations to your ex that come from emotions such as rage. Some bells cannot be unrung and as unbelievable as it may now sound, your emotions will subside.
Keep a journal of all discussions you have with partner.
Keep all text messages.
Most women find it difficult to eat or sleep, particularly in the first month or so.
Don’t be forced into making any major decisions until you are ready. If the important issues around living arrangements, finances and children are creating confusion for you do your best to buy some time.
Be careful with any major life decisions such as moving to a new area or country, selling all your possessions or getting a tattoo. All these choices may be ones you make later, when the emotional roller coaster has stopped and you know for sure they are the best choices for you.
Avoid leaping into a new romantic relationship in these first few weeks and months. It may be tempting – your soul and ego may be bruised and demand soothing – but this is not the best time to be establishing new romantic attachments.