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Going through a legal divorce is likely going to be a very difficult time for your mental health. As far as events that can affect your levels of anxiety and depression, emotional divorce scores quite high on the list. This being said divorce doesn’t need to be the most expensive or emotionally draining thing you do if you can take the steps to control emotional divorce levels in a healthy way. 

You don’t want an emotional divorce to cost more than your wedding. Although the loss of a marital relationship is akin to the death of a loved one, there are tactics that can help lessen the blow both emotionally and financially. 

Mental health professionals, drawing on insights from educational and psychological sciences, suggest that taking proactive steps can control or moderate emotional divorce levels. This article outlines our five main tips for getting through divorce with as little emotional and financial cost as possible.

1. Watch out for the domino effect

During the separation or divorce process, it can be easy to dwell on what you could have done better during marital relationships, or what the other party might have done to cause such an unhappy marriage. Experience has taught us that placing blame on one party or yourself, leads to emotional cloudiness which will affect your decision-making ability. 

It’s best to try and look forward. Approach getting through divorce as a new step in your life. There is going to be a grieving process and you need to accept it. We recommend most of our clients see a counsellor in order to cope with the feelings of emotional distance that an emotional divorce leads to in so many cases. Most people can qualify for counselling either through their GP. If you approach the divorce with a clear mind, you will make better decisions. These decisions can set off a domino effect. For example, responding to that text message in a calm manner vs responding to it with a nasty threat or abuse, could mean the difference of thousands of dollars in legal fees in fighting a protection order.

However, it’s not always appropriate to move on and completely forget the past behaviour of your spouse, particularly in child custody cases where past abusive behaviour towards you or the children must be considered.

2. Don’t let your new spouse or theirs affect you legally or emotionally

We all know that too many chefs in the kitchen can wreak havoc on the meal, same goes for a legal separation or emotional divorce. While you should rely on your new spouse, friends or family for support – don’t let them make your decisions. It is true that the least amount of people involved in the decision making of an emotional divorce will often lead to a speedier and less costly divorce.  You might find your ex’s new spouse totally abhorrent, but unless the new spouse has a criminal history or is abusive then it’s probably best to leave their nuances and try to get along. Most people are reasonable once you find the motivations for their actions.

Additionally, you should make sure that your new spouse is a suitable fit for you and your situation. We’ve dealt with cases where it’s been revealed that a new spouse has previous child sex crimes that caused a tirade of child custody issues. It’s best to have open and honest communications with all parties early on.

3. Forgot about the past and the present behaviour too

While it’s often said you should just try to ‘move on’ from past behaviour, the same can be said about the present. Your ex might sleep with a close friend, take up a new hobby, or decide to get full-body tattoos of pirates. Regardless of what they do, it’s best not to focus on it too much. It’s easier said than done, but it can cost you a lot of emotional time and legal fees if you let it.

However if the behaviour is out of line, abusive, puts you or the children at risk, or involves financial aspects you need to talk to your lawyer as soon as possible. Setting boundaries early on is the key in the instance of an emotional separation or divorce.

4. Lock down your social media immediately

It might be fun to post an image of you 20kg lighter with a new beautiful lover by our side, heck it might be fun posting a passive-aggressive meme-style slap in the face. We aren’t saying don’t post it, but it shouldn’t be posted to add fuel to the fire. If you haven’t already you should remove your spouse from viewing your social media. Additionally, you should consider setting audiences on Facebook so that only your most trusted allies can see how good you are looking now. While legally there are no consequences for posting these types of things, the truth is an emotional blow-up on their end can end up in a blowout of your legal fees.

It goes without saying posting about the relationship or the new parties behaviour or lack of is also off limits. You might slip up in an angry rage and say something you shouldn’t, especially if you are the ‘left behind spouse. Being slapped with a potential defamation case is the last thing you want now.

5. Get legal advice early

Obviously, as lawyers, we are always going to tell you to do this. But really, really do it. Getting advice early on, setting boundaries early on is far better than letting issues muster away. You need to take action as soon as possible even if you aren’t emotionally ready to accept the relationship is over. Some people put off getting a lawyer until the other party does, but even in the most amicable cases, it’s best to see a lawyer early as it might just get nasty down the line. We often have cases where everything is fine until one party moves on or gets into a new relationship. We have had cases where everything is fine until something isn’t clear in a nonofficial agreement that agitates the parties. You will save yourself loads of stress talking to a lawyer sooner rather than later.

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