When I filed for divorce, it was something I never imagined for myself. I always pictured the man I married to be with me through everything and be the perfect team raising our children. I constantly reevaluated every step of our marriage to see where things went wrong and what we could have done better. I quickly found out there was no reason to keep tiring myself when there wasn’t one thing to blame it on.
I learned a lot from a divorce I didn’t know before. When you look from the outside, there is a lot you don’t realize, which I want to share with you all. So, as a divorced mom – here is what I wish I knew before.
1. Divorce Affects the Whole Family
I thought when I filed for my divorce I would only feel the pain and turbulence from it. I failed to realize that my kids, family, friends and ex-spouse would all feel the separation along with me. It completely changed my life along with the people around me. It took a while for everyone to settle into the new everyday life we were thrown into.
As for kids, I had to support them even when I was hurting. It can be tough to put on a brave face for the kids sometimes when I’m not in a good place. As a mom, my priority is to ensure they have a smooth transition since they are thrown into a situation that’s out of their control. I like to remind myself to be gentle since it is hard to support another life when not feeling the best about my own.
2. Everyone’s Divorce is Different
There is not a one size fits all element to divorces. This makes it either very lonely or very comforting. My circumstance differs from the 689,308 other people going through a divorce. Although, certain concepts could overlap with other people that could be bonded over. Stress and uncertainty are common feelings I connected over when going through this time in my life. The good news is that anyone else who went through a divorce will be able to relate to the feelings.
3. Browse Divorce Laws
I am not alone when I say it can be challenging to understand all the laws that come into play after a divorce. During my separation, I wasn’t thinking about the laws as much as I should have. There are several aspects to consider, especially when a child is involved. I had to consider tax consequences and equitable distribution of personal items like furniture and vehicles. That alone was a lot to take on, not to mention figuring out the children.
Child support is split into two types of custody, legal and physical. Determining who gets primary custody is essential but not part of the legal divorce process. Child support determines fair and adequate amounts with the parent’s income and physical time. Paying the court-ordered amount is crucial.
4. Divorced Parents Can Get Along
After everything we went through, I thought it would be impossible to get along with each other. We had many disagreements, but when the storm settled, so did the feelings of hatred. Now I am friendly with my ex since it makes things easy for everyone.
I had mixed feelings about him throughout the divorce, but I wanted to put them aside to celebrate memorable times together. Celebrating birthdays for the kids has become easier since we don’t have to devise separate plans and can come together civilly for these occasions.
5. Create Boundaries With Your Ex
I always will have my children in common with my ex, but interacting is different now. I wanted the kids to be the least affected as possible so I would have dinners prepared for us to share as a family when they returned to me. I realized that we were still doing many things that felt like we were together. I wanted to heal, and feeling like I needed to have a meal prepared for the family so it didn’t affect the kids was hurting me more in the long run.
Sometimes, he expected me to answer him immediately about unnecessary things, like when we were together. I had to create boundaries around what he could contact me about and when he could stop by. It helped me move on and focus on my own needs while healing.
6. My Kids are OK
All I did was worry about my kids after my divorce. I wanted them to be in the best position after everything. It helps that they were young when this happened, but they always behaved amazingly and never asked if my ex and I would get back together. They respect and understand the situation more than me sometimes and it is refreshing to see that they turned out fine when I felt like I was failing.
Take it Easy
This is a tough transition that many people go through in their own ways. I got through it even when it felt like I couldn’t. I want everyone to be prepared for what thoughts and feelings can arise during this change in life. If there were one thing I wish I knew now, it would be that everything would work out.