A friend of mine recently told me she was separating from her common law partner. They have two children together. I've found myself giving her a lot of basic information and just day to day advice on the practical steps to get through a separation and she's been asking a ton of questions. Cause - lets be honest - who knows what separation really entails until you are in it?? So I figured, I’d post them up here as well, for anyone who’s just new to the whole thing. Here are 7 things that'll get you started, if your marriage is ending.
1. Find a good lawyer for yourself: You need to know your legal rights. From there you can make decisions on what would be fair for your family’s situation.
2. Find a great mediator for you both: In my experience, a mediator is almost more important than your lawyer. Especially, if you and your ex really aim to have an amicable split. The mediator can essentially write up your separation agreement, talking you both through the tricky parts, telling you how contentious issues would probably rule in court - so you can weigh your odds - and make good decisions for the future of your family.
3. Dig through all your old financial records: Who would have ever thought you’d need to find out your net worth from 10 years ago? What debts did you bring into the marriage? What was your net worth essentially? Who saves that shit?? My ex did, and was he ever glad he did :) ..Just one of the many new realities you’ll find yourself in as you go through your separation/divorce.
4. Let your good friends and family know: You will need emotional, spiritual and maybe even financial support through this massive change in family status. So, sign up all the people who LOVE you. :) They’ll be happy to lend an ear, help with the kids, and generally pick you up off the floor if you need it!
5. Who’s moving out? Or are you both moving? Can you afford for one of you to keep the house and the other move out? Do you sell the house? Where are you going to live? No matter what you do, I’d recommend living reasonably close to each other, you’ll be driving back and forth a lot sharing the children – and no doubt your child will forget their favourite toy, or an outfit or a pair of shoes, and need them as soon as possible!
6. How will you tell the kids, mommy and daddy are going to live in different homes, in the most thoughtful way on earth? This is so, so huge. It effects the souls of your children, and start off this next major chapter in their lives. Be honest and so sensitive with their feelings and questions. I know you won’t take this lightly but really, really think through what you’ll say and how you’ll present your new (two home) family unit.
7. Move through your pain slowly but surely, don’t rush through it or avoid it. Separation/divorce is an opportunity to really look at yourself and your life and discover or rediscover your whole self. Take the time to work through all your feelings on the ending of your marriage. This will ensure you can really move on and into the rest of your life. You don’t want to skip through this hard part, and end up bitter and angry for the rest of your days. And your children don’t want that for you either. Get therapy if you get stuck along the way. Investing in your mental health is so critical.
Feel free to let me know - is there anything you’d like to add to this list? Leave a message below and let me know what :) Or if you’re reading this from a country other than Canada – do you typically use a mediator? I’d love to hear from you!
Have a good eve, take care,
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