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Navigating through the emotional stages of a Texas divorce

Many times, during a divorce case you may feel like you are losing control in one way or another. The case just isn’t going as you had planned. Your kids aren’t adapting to change as well as you would have hoped. You aren’t adapting to change as well as you would have hoped. There are several events that you may have to face which are difficult from an emotional viewpoint. The trouble is that while you are having to deal with all of these emotions there is an important legal case that doesn't exactly stop to ask if you are doing ok. Rather, the case keeps chugging along whether you are emotionally ready for that or not. If you aren't ready, then you may be left behind and suffer the consequences. 

Does that happen, though? Is there a chance that you could get left behind in your divorce? Remember when you were a kid, and your mom would tell you to slow down when you were eating- it’s not a race! Well, divorce is not a race but there is a pace that you must be able to maintain to meet the progress marks, complete tasks and maintain a steady focus on the objectives of your case. It is not easy. It is not always fun. It is essential. You will need to be able to set aside your challenges and keep a straight-ahead outlook on your case, your family, and your goals. 

Here is the trouble with all of that. You may know from an intellectual standpoint what is needed of you but it is a different matter altogether when it comes to being able to see all these plans through and have success amid the struggles of a divorce. We at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan know first-hand what it can be like to struggle with a divorce. We see people from all walks of life hire our office to advocate and walk with them through divorce cases. There is no group of people or type of personality that succeeds more often in divorce. Rather, divorce cases are some of the most trying types of legal cases out there. Nobody knows better than another person when it comes down to it. Across the spectrum, we find that people who have the preparation tend to succeed better in divorce. That’s all there is to it. 

Preparing for a divorce does not necessarily mean that you just need to focus on memorizing the code books and watching courtroom proceedings instead of going to work. You have a job, a family, and other responsibilities outside of your divorce. Nobody is expecting you to focus all your time and energy on a divorce. That would be unrealistic and unhealthy. Rather, you can take the time necessary to learn about divorce in a productive yet gradual mindset to succeed in your divorce. That is an approach that you can go to war with- or at least go to your divorce with. 

Divorce cases are unique to the extent that people are unique. Your marriage is not the same as any other marriage. Your children are not the same as any other children. The list goes on and on. When we talk about divorce cases the hard part is that you cannot copy and paste what your neighbor did and apply the same lessons he or she did. Rather, you need to be able to approach your case with fresh eyes and ears. It is good to get advice from people that you trust and who have been through divorce before. However, you need to be able to understand that those people are not you and do not have tailor-made advice for you and your family. Rather, you need to consider their advice and then apply that advice to your life so that you can move forward with confidence in your divorce. 

Like anything in life, a divorce case can seem overwhelming if you approach it from the perspective that you need to get everything under control immediately and do not give yourself any grace or a second to catch your breath. As we talked about at the beginning of today's blog post it can seem like you are doing everything you can to stay on track with your divorce and even then, you may lose focus and end up making a mistake in some critical area. This is no reason for you to abandon ship and give up hope. This is evidence of your being a person who is prone to mistakes- just like all of us are. It would be impossible for you to not make a single mistake in a divorce. If you can go through life without making a mistake, then you have a chance to go through your divorce without making a mistake. Otherwise, you should expect to make a mistake or two during the divorce. This will not be the end of the world. 

However, you do not want to give in to the temptation that the divorce is outside your control and that you are better off just spending your time doing other things rather than preparing for a divorce. This is also an extreme position that can be harmful to you. The best place for you to be with your divorce preparation is to understand the challenges, develop a strategy to navigate those challenges, and then focus on specific and quantifiable goals. These goals are important because many people wander into a divorce without ever having developed a strategy or coherent goals. While there are multiple ways to develop strategy and be goal-oriented I think examining your case from an emotional perspective can be a great use of your time. 

Emotions are not something for you to brush aside in your divorce, but they also cannot be the driving factor and your focus of the whole divorce case process. Emotions can play a part in your divorce just as they play a part in your life. Putting those emotions into context can be very helpful because it can allow you to gain a whole new understanding of your case and what you need to get out of the case before it is too late. You will reach a point in the divorce where you have gone far enough and cannot go back and correct mistakes that you made. Emotional mistakes may not get the attention that other types of mistakes do but they are still important and should be avoided at all costs. 

Today's blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan will focus on the emotional stages of a divorce. While your experience in divorce may be different than that of a neighbor or friend it is still possible for you to take advantage of the time that you are given to make the most of your divorce experience. That experience does not have to be as bad as everyone makes it out to be. Divorce is not a walk in the park, but it is not something that you need to exhaust yourself emotionally to succeed. 

If you have any questions about the material contained in today’s blog post please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free-of-charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law as well as how your family may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.

Fear of the unknown

This is an emotion that almost all of us experience from time to time. We see something that we do not recognize in the dark and our minds immediately jump to the worst possible outcome. Our minds almost want to go to the worst outcome. Maybe that is because your minds are doing sort of an emotional hedge. On the one hand, if the divorce is as bad as you make it out to be at least it will not come as surprise to you. On the other hand, if the divorce is not as bad as you thought it would be then you can settle your emotions down from that perspective.

There are two emotions that people feel at the beginning of a divorce that I believe are especially interesting. The first is an emotion tied to staying put and not doing anything at all. These are people who understand that it is time for them to file for divorce, but they cannot quite bring themselves to get the case filed. Or, you may have filed the case but have not served your spouse. A file for divorce with no service is not a divorce at all. If you sit on your hands long enough, then you risk the case being dismissed for want of prosecution. This means that the judge would not want your case to take up space on their docket because nothing had been done to it. 

The other emotion that people experience at the beginning of a divorce is restlessness which is brought about by having a lot thrown at you all at one time. We see this happen all the time. You finally get the divorce filed, you hire an attorney and then you want to move on to the next step and then the one after that. The trouble with all of this is that you cannot constantly move on to the next step until time passes. It is very little in an instantaneous divorce. You must be able to learn to sit and look at yourself, plan, work, and then move on to the next step. We all want instant gratification, and a divorce is no different. However, the best we can do in a divorce is to take each step as they come and then prepare diligently when the opportunity presents itself to move onto the next stage of a case. 

I think both emotions- procrastination, and restlessness- are related to having a fear of the unknown. We do fear what we do not know or do not understand. When we don’t understand or have no idea of what to expect in a process one of the major things that we tend to do is worried. That worry can sometimes evolve into anxiety and that anxiety can lead us into dark places that are sometimes difficult to come out of without some help. Hopefully, you will have hired an experienced family law attorney to help guide you in your divorce. If not, you would have to learn how to deal with this anxiety over the unknown without help. It is possible to do this, but it is not easy. There is no roadmap for you to use especially if this is your first divorce or your first time experiencing anxiety. 

I would tell you that you must slow yourself down enough to understand that Rome was not built in a day and that you can't expect your divorce case to be done in one day. Your case has a timeline to follow, and your case is not the exception that doesn't need to wait a little bit now and again. If your settlement negotiations do not go exactly how you want them that doesn't mean you and your spouse are never going to be able to work through your issues. If you cannot get your court date as soon as you want for a temporary order hearing that doesn't mean that you'll never be able to get to the bottom of whatever it is that you are accomplishing. It just means having to bide your time and be patient- even if you don't know exactly how things are going to turn out. 

An inability to put the shoe on the other foot

By the end of your divorce, you will be in a position where you would have developed a strategy with your attorney and are now working to put that strategy into motion. This can mean developing goals and negotiating with your spouse in a way to help you identify those goals which are most advantageous to you and your family. This is the phase where you feel like your case is just about over, but it is not. There is still work to do, particularly if you have not yet been to mediation. 

Rather than lose your mindset of keeping focused on goals you should keep going and push through those feelings. What has served you well to that stage of your divorce will continue to do so if you stay disciplined. A lot of people towards the end of their divorce will feel like they just need to mail it in and coast to the end of their case. This may be a natural and understandable reaction to the difficulties of a divorce, but it is not the best course of action to take if you still need to negotiate. Remain vigilant. Do not stop a block before the end of the marathon. Rather, run through the tape and leave no question about the outcome.

Even once you get to mediation, it can feel like you and your spouse are going back and forth over the same items time after time after time. If you are not making progress, you may be so frustrated that just giving in to your spouse may strike you as the best course of action to take. Almost surely it is not. Keep in mind that once your divorce is over there is no guarantee that you will be able to come back and have a re-do on any subject. The best time for you to make progress within your case is during the divorce itself. Leave no stone unturned and do not put yourself in a position where you have regrets about not leaving it all on the field- so to speak. Divorce decrees can be modified but this is not something you want to assume can happen for you. 

When you go through a divorce you can ignore your emotions and charge ahead but that is not an effective mindset to have. If you ignore your emotions, you can become exhausted. You may feel like you weight the world on your shoulders during a divorce which is why having an experienced family law attorney by your side to help guide you can be so important. With a little bit of effort, you can find the right lawyer for you that will help you manage your goals and your emotions. 

Questions about the material contained in today’s blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

If you have any questions about the material contained in today’s blog post please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family attorneys offer free-of-charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law as well as how your family may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case. 


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