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Shocked by a divorce

Shocked by a divorce? What you should (and shouldn’t) do

Hearing your partner tell you they want a divorce can be devastating if you were not expecting it.

While this is indeed a tumultuous, disorienting time, what you do and do not do in the immediate aftermath of your spouse’s decision can significantly impact the future. Thus, consider the following recommendations.

Do take it one step at a time.

Being caught off guard with upsetting news can send you into a spiral. The stress and panic can be overwhelming. Taking it one step at a time can help you ground yourself.

This means focusing on the little things you need to do. Go to work, finish your regular chores and take care of your kids and pets. Tackling these routine tasks can help you feel in control and capable of putting one foot in front of the other.

Do find healthy outlets.

When coping with shocking news and stress, parties might turn to drugs and alcohol; they might eat poorly or spend days in bed, even if they aren’t sleeping.

These reactions can feel cathartic, but they are not healthy.

Find healthy outlets like hanging out with friends and staying active. Getting enough sleep and eating a balanced diet can help people feel more clear-headed when navigating complicated, emotional situations.

Don’t make hasty financial decisions.

Draining bank accounts or going on a spending spree can ultimately punish you as much as it punishes your ex, so making any hasty financial decisions can be unwise.

Instead of overspending or taking on new debt, keep your spending in check. Refraining from making any big decisions while in a tailspin can also have long-term financial benefits and protect your financial best interests.

Don’t make any threats or promises.

Words carry weight. And while you might do or say things you don’t mean or later regret, make sure these are not threats or promises that could affect the divorce process.

For example, don’t threaten violence of any kind or promise your spouse that you will give them something specific in the divorce. In either case, your spouse could hold you to these words and use them against you as you navigate the legal process.

In the hours and days after your spouse says they want a divorce, you can feel lost, angry, and scared about what happens next. These suggestions can help stabilize you and keep you moving forward.

And oh yes, I almost forgot!  Consider getting legal advice and legal strategy to plan your next steps.

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