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How to Overcome Your Fears Regarding Impending Divorce

By Corri Fetman | June 24, 2024

There is no sugar-coating the divorce process. It can oftentimes seem like a scary progression of events that can seem so foreboding that many unhappy couples decide to never go through it all. It turns our life and the lives of our families upside down and forces everyone involved to transition into a new, awkward way of life. But despite all of the fear and heartache that divorces can produce, they are more often than not very, very much worth it. More often than not, a divorce will provide a new positive and exciting chapter when all is said and done.

You know that quote, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”? Well, I am convinced that whoever originally said that was in the throes of a deep, dark litigation process amidst a heated divorce battle. And if so, no truer words have ever been spoken. Your divorce may not be all fun and there may be times when you wish you could just curl into a ball and hide from reality forever, but trust me, it will not kill you. Facing the fears that stop most people from going through with a divorce is the first step in shedding a layer of who you are now for you will become once the final papers are signed, sealed, and delivered…and that person is a much lighter, happier, yet stronger version of yourself. Trust me.

But how do you go from being paralyzed with fear when it comes to the thought of serving up your spouse with a divorce petition, to signing those final papers and becoming that strong, independent, happy person? By addressing each and every fear you have about you and your divorce rationally and methodically until you have reasoned all of the daunting apprehension right out of them.

Overcoming any given anxiety regarding a divorce is kind of like the grown-up version of overcoming your fear of the “boogeyman” when you were a child. The more you believe that you are NOT afraid of “it”, the more you drain “it” of its power over you. But because we are not children anymore, simply repeating “I am not afraid, I am not afraid” over and over again will no longer suffice. We need to truly believe that we are deep-down unafraid. And to do that, it is best to write out whatever worries and anxieties we may have, and then write down rational solutions and reasons why we should not fear them. You know, like adults.

So here they are, my friends. The most common fears that people have regarding a potential divorce (a.k.a. the most common reasons why people decide to forego divorce in lieu of an unhappy marital situation) along the reasons why you should really not fear them at all.

  • Fear of Loneliness –

The number one anxiety amongst people who are in the midst of deciding whether or not they want to end their marriage is the fear of being alone once they do. Sadly, many people are more overwhelmed by the idea of being left on their own to deal with finances, children, career changes, etc. than they are of staying in a broken marriage. But the truth is, if you are in a bad marriage, the odds are that your partner is probably not helping out much anymore anyways so why are you dragging around that dead weight? Cut it off and allow yourself to thrive without being dragged down by your emotional and psychological drama!

That being said, if you are one of these people who find yourself choosing to stay in deeply dysfunctional marriage because the mere thought of being alone is paralyzing you from taking the divorce plunge, then you should know that you are allowing fear to run your life and that one day you will regret it immensely.

So do me (and yourself) one small favor: take a long, hard, soul-searching look in the mirror and ask yourself this question, “Do I really want to be in this marriage, or am I just in it because I’m too afraid of being on my own?” If the answer is that you are only sticking around out of fear, then I think you know what you have to do. But try to remember this: oftentimes it is much more lonely to be in bed next to someone who doesn’t get you (or doesn’t want to anymore) than it is to be snuggled between the sheets on your own. So grow some cajones and demand a better love-life for yourself! Because one thing is definitely certain, nobody else is going to demand it for you.

  • Fear of Negative Impact on Your Children–

Negatively impacting the life and emotional state of your child while going through a divorce is a valid concern, however, it does not have to strike a debilitating fear into your heart if you are prepared and informed on how to handle the situation.

With around fifty-percent of today’s children expected to experience parental divorce by the time they reach high school, there is a wealth of information available on how to break the news to your kids, help them through the transitional period, and ease them into accepting their new way of life. However, I believe that the best route in ensuring their mental well-being and sense of security during a tumultuous divorce can be broken down into the following steps:

  • Explain to them honestly why you and your spouse are choosing to divorce. Children are not stupid and they know when they are being lied to. Without being too graphic, discuss the situation openly and allow them to feel like they are fully aware of what is going on. The more they feel that they are being deceived, the more they will lash out and resist accepting the new circumstances.
  • Let them know what their new home-situation is going to be like and then stick to it.

Upon choosing to divorce, you and your spouse should commit to a new living situation promptly, and then stick to that arrangement for the duration of the proceedings. Creating a new home-life and sticking to the new routine is the only way that anyone is ever going to adjust. This means that once you or your spouse moves out, it stays that way. Being wishy-washy only breeds confusion and confusion breeds contempt.

  • Do not allow your child(ren) to start filling a vacant spousal role.

It can be tempting when your former spouse is not around to treat your children like little adults who you can confide in and have adult conversations with. But please, please resist doing this! Do not dump even more confusion on your kids’ plates by not only changing their home-life, but also changing your relationship with them as a parent. Call a friend, go to lunch with a co-worker, whatever! As long as you don’t start dishing to them about your dick-head boss or your bitchy sister, you’re good.

  • Fear of Financial Ruin–

For those of you who were smart enough to sign some kind of pre-nuptial agreement that ensures your financial safety if you should choose to get divorced down the road, congratulations! You can skip this section and avoid this commonplace fear altogether! But for those of you who decided to nix the idea of a pre-nuptial agreement for whatever (idiotic) reason, let me try to calm your financial fears as best I can by offering up some options and tips on how you can cut legal costs and come to a fair settlement.

There are numerous ways that you can approach handling your finances while calling it quits, but the BEST ways to shoot for a successful divorce that is cost efficient and timely are as follows:

  • Get Organized

In order to enter the divvying up of assets process of your divorce you will need a full, comprehensive list of everything you and your soon-to-be ex own (and owe) together.

At the inception, you will need to do the following which is the very minimum:

  1. Gather your tax returns
  2. Compile your bank, brokerage, and credit card statements
  3. Get a market analysis of your house to determine a value
  4. Find out the value of your pension plan and retirement plans
  5. Put together your monthly budget showing both income and outgoing expenses.

If you can provide this information for you and your spouse’s accounts, you will undoubtedly save valuable time and money, of course.

  • Get a Financial Advisor

If you are not financially savvy, a budget for your new living arrangements without your spouse is tremendously helpful. A financial advisor can be invaluable when it comes to allocating your settlement funds, allocating savings and determining tax advantaged savings as well as learning how to work around your new income. It may seem like an extra expense, but trust me, it will provide some security and safety.

All in all, the majority of the worries and anxiety is from fear. The only way to fight fear is to face the fear with solutions. Corri Fetman & Associates, Ltd. is a solution oriented and strategic law firm ready to assist with your divorce and provide answers. To contact us, please call (312) 341-0900 or click the button below to schedule a consultation.

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