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We've gathered knowledgeable, dedicated divorce experts from a variety of fields to lend their advice and perspectives. Our experts include lawyers, healthcare professionals, certified professionals, and everyday women with insight into the topics that will help you stay empowered.

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It's easy to fall into victim mentality when you are facing a divorce. Feeling vulnerable, you may forget that the only person you can control is yourself.

This article contains questions you may choose to ask yourself to make sure you are empowered to focus proactively on your own life both during and after the divorce so you can avoid the low road and focus on moving on in a peaceful, productive and proactive way.

1. Have I thought through my own or my spouse’s reasons for wanting a divorce?  Am I taking adequate responsibility for how my actions contributed to where we are now? If I maintain a balanced view of the divorce, even through my distrust and anger, then I am more likely to get my spouse to act in reasonable ways. Forgiveness can be a powerful antidote for negativity.

2. Have I been careful not to let my anger lead me to trash my partner with family and friends with whom he or she was close?  If I do not present myself as embittered and my spouse as the villain, I will maintain greater support and I can call on family and friends to help when things get heated between us. Trash talking is known in some therapeutic circles as “Stinkin’ Thinkin’.” 

3. Have I thought enough about my career options for the future? Am I headed in a direction that will enable me to support myself and my children? I should be thinking beyond teaching my spouse a lesson, using this time to enhance my skills and opportunities to pursue meaningful employment now or in the future when my children are older. If I am the primary breadwinner and I am considering a career change, I must set up my life so that I can take care of my own needs without neglecting those of my children.

4. Have I taken careful stock of our family assets and household possessions, cataloguing them in order to create a fair division with less room for he said, she said in a void of facts or concrete information? I want to be reasonable and fair and receive the same treatment from my spouse.

5. Have I collected all the information I need about our financial situation, so that I can negotiate from a fully informed position? Have I learned what I need to know about our family finances and how they have been managed? The more I know, the better armed I am to protect myself and my family, and to contribute to creative solutions for complicated economic issues. Knowledge has great preventive power against making decisions based on emotional needs, especially transitional emotions such as fear and anger.

 

Excerpted from Your Divorce Advisor: A Lawyer and a Psychologist Guide You Through the Legal and Emotional Landscape of Divorce.
 

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