Nobody enters into a divorce with the expectation that their marriage is going to fail. You may have a doubt or a suspicion that certain elements of your relationship to your spouse could potentially mean there could be trouble down the road. At the outset of a marriage is a whole lot of optimism and often times very little in the way of planning as to how you and your spouse are going to resolve conflict. That is until conflict rears its ugly head and you and your spouse are ill-prepared to face it.
When your marriage shifts from one of being endless possibilities fortified by mutual love and respect, to one of angst, anger, and hostility the hope the early years of your marriage can become a memory. You start to plan for divorce at this stage and establish an exit plan. If you have children they are likely a part of that exit plan, but for some parents, their exit plan becomes more about their own survival than that of their children. Some of you who go through a divorce will end up doing well for yourselves after some time has passed. Others of you will struggle to confront problems that you thought would be alleviated by the divorce but ended up still plaguing you.
This begs the question: what is the difference between those who succeed in spite of divorce and those that struggle to adjust to a life that they themselves have chosen in many instances? Are there characteristics that those that farewell possess that those that struggle do not? Is it all dependent on attitude or are there other factors at play? I would like to attempt to answer these questions by sharing with you some perspective that I have developed in my years as a Texas family law attorney.
Is yours a high conflict marriage?
If you are ending a marriage where the high conflict between yourself and your spouse was the norm then you will likely be a happier person after your divorce. The bar, as I would put it, is set rather low as far as happiness is concerned. There is a great deal of stress associated with high conflict relationship and the greatest of these stresses is a daily threat to your own personal safety. If you are concerned that you are going to be physically harmed on any given day then you probably can't achieve any level of happiness while you are still married.
How well do you do with changes in your routine?
This is the type of question that you may expect to receive on a job interview, but it is also relevant when we are discussing divorce in Texas. You need to be able to ask yourself how well you will really be able to adapt in changes to your routine. A divorce is certainly a change to your routine, even a routine that is not necessarily one that is not necessarily a bad change for many of you.
If you are not a person that does handle change in routine well, that does not mean that you should not get a divorce or that you should remain in a relationship that is not good for you. What it does mean, however, is that you need to be able to distinguish what your likelihood is of handling the transition well and identifying how you can move into the camp of those that will succeed after divorce. What mindset do you have to be in in order to do well in your post-divorce life? If you are normally a creature of habit this can be an especially difficult thing to do. However, you will never have peace of mind during your divorce case unless you can put yourself in a mindset that your post-divorce life will be one where you achieve positive outcomes for yourself and your family.
The key to this discussion is the ability for you to be able to make your own choices. Deciding where you can live, where you can work, the hours that you keep, the relationships that you pursue and even the opinions that you hold can all be affected by the person that you are married to. Each time that you make a decision for yourself and do not have to check in with your spouse to do so can be an empowering and extremely enriching experience. Not having done so in quite some time can be a rewarding aspect of divorce that you may not have even considered.
Another thing to consider is that you need to actually plan out how to take the steps necessary to improve your life after divorce. You can worry all you want about the change that is coming towards you at a rapid pace, but until you take the steps necessary to improve your life and plan ahead for those changes you will not be in a position to flourish in your post-divorce life. I have seen many people get to the end of their divorce with a lot of question marks about their life outside of the divorce. If nothing else, your divorce case will provide you with a great deal of structure. If you don’t have children then your post-divorce life may be missing the guardrails that temporary orders in a divorce provided you with.
How to improve your life while setting yourself up for success financially
So many people who go through a divorce have no way of applying any attention to their post-divorce health because so much of their concern has to be on simply making it out of their divorce in one piece financially. Are you having to switch jobs? Or work a second job? What are you going to do about child support and making sure that your kids have medical coverage? If you cannot provide answers to all of these issues it is probable that you will not be able to improve your life in other ways until you do.
Again, this comes back to an attitude in so many ways. It is much easier for you to be able to meet the challenges of a divorce head-on when you are accepting of those changes and able to plan for their effect on your life. Many times I have seen that the spouse who does not want the divorce is the one who struggles coping with change both during the divorce and in the time period immediately following the divorce. If this sounds like you, it may be worthwhile for you to pursue other relationships (platonic during the divorce) so that your energies can be focused elsewhere and not on the failing marriage.
Are there potential health consequences to your getting a divorce?
Whether or not you can handle the stress of a divorce is dependent on a lot of factors that I am not really in a position to offer my opinion on. I can tell you what I have seen in my years as a family law attorney, but until you begin your case and see how you react to the divorce there is nothing especially relevant that I can tell you about this subject as it pertains specifically to you.
How well you cope with divorce and your ability to bounce back after a difficult time in your life largely depends on your support system and the people that you have built up around you. These are the people that you will come to lean on in the months following your divorce. If you depended on your spouse to get you out of the house and into social situations then that is an obvious downside to divorce for you. Isolation is not typically something that I have seen to be a positive force for people that are going through a divorce.
You also have to look at the family of your spouse as a support system that you are losing. Obviously, if you did not get along with your ex-spouse's family then this will not be much of a loss for you, but if you were close with your in-laws a divorce will hurt you socially speaking. You will also need to work on maintaining friendships in the aftermath of your divorce. Many people find remaining friends with others who have not been through a divorce can be difficult.
As far as relationships with other people are concerned, I would like to mention that I have observed that men tend to lose contact with their children after divorce more times than I would care to report. Fathers are not typically named as the parent who gets to determine the primary residence of their children and as such, they will be awarded visitation rights. If you are a father reading this blog post I would recommend that you take advantage of every opportunity presented to you as far as seeing your children is concerned.
Balancing single parenthood with the need to be social
I have seen many parents who have to focus on their children lose out on the therapeutic aspects of having a social life after a divorce has concluded. If you are awarded the right to determine the primary residence of your children then you will be tasked with a major responsibility. It is a responsibility that you likely fought for in your divorce, but it is a responsibility nonetheless. Any chance you have at venturing out into the world to unwind after a divorce and seek solace in relationship building will have been lost.
Committing yourself to be available for your children than turning around and participating in the transportation of your children back and forth between your home and the home of your child's other parent can be extremely stressful. Ironically, it is at work that many divorced parents find the greatest degree of social release after a divorce. You can seek support from your co-workers and can lose yourself in your work for periods of time. Your employer may be the one place that you are able to get together with other adults to build relationships and focus your energies on something other than your family and your divorce.
Financial issues and divorce: what are you likely to encounter in your own case?
Your standard of living, as a two-income household, is obviously higher than it would be as a single adult. Now add in the fact that much of the day to day expenses of childcare will be yours to handle, as well as uncertainty around the child support payments that you receive and you have a recipe for financial insecurity in the time period after your divorce.
In tomorrow's blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, we will pick up with our last topic in our weeklong discussion on divorce and its after-effects. What can you expect to occur financially after a divorce? There are many factors at play and we will see how many affect you when we pick up where we left off in tomorrow's blog post.
Questions about divorce, family law or adjusting to life after court? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
If you are searching for answers to problems that revolve around family law in Texas, you need to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan today. We work on behalf of people like you and families like yours from across southeast Texas. We are in the family courts in every county in our area and we take pride in the results that we achieve on behalf of our clients.
We offer free of charge consultations six days a week with our licensed family law attorneys. These consultations are a great opportunity to meet with an experienced family law attorney to go over the circumstances of your case and receive information that is tailored to suit you and your family. We can share perspectives that you cannot get anywhere else. A phone calls to our office and make a world of difference in your life. We invite you to contact us today.