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In this space, we’ve talked quite a bit about knowing when it’s the right time to divorce, planning for divorce, and getting through divorce. It’s time to devote some attention to the topic of what to do after your divorce is final. In some ways, life immediately after your divorce is something like the day after Christmas...and the moments after an earthquake.
What on earth could a divorce possibly have in common with a festive holiday? It’s like the day after Christmas in the sense that you’ve spent months planning for it and obsessing over details that might (or might not) matter, and now it’s over. You’ve focused all your attention on one thing for so long that you may find yourself standing in the middle of the living room wondering, “What’s next?”
And, of course, a divorce is like an earthquake because it has rocked the foundations of your home, created chaos, broken some things and rearranged others. You probably feel shaken, and you may wander out into the world tentatively, bracing for aftershocks. And the way you should react after an earthquake is, in many ways, how you should react after a divorce. Step one: Make sure your loved ones are okay. Step two: Start to rebuild.
Self-care is critically important after a divorce, and that means more than just having a glass of wine or taking a nap. You have been through a stressful process that has reconfigured your life and that of your children. You don’t just need a little break; you need restoration.
What that looks like depends on who you are. You may benefit from counseling, not because there’s anything wrong with you, but because it’s good to have the help of an insightful, objective professional in making sense of the new landscape of your life. Counseling can help you go beyond venting about the past so that you can orient yourself toward the future.
Counseling may also be good for your kids, giving them an outlet for their feelings about the divorce and their concerns for what happens now. It need not be a long-term process, but can be ongoing, of course, if they need it.
Take care of yourself and your kids in other ways, too. In fact, consider treating yourself as you would a beloved child: be gentle with yourself, feed yourself wholesome foods, make sure you get enough rest, maintain a routine, recognize when you need a break and give yourself a time-out.
At the same time you are taking steps to recover and heal after your divorce, there are also practical matters you should handle, if you have not already done so—rebuilding your life to reflect your new reality. This includes taking measures like:
If you have other questions about what to do after your divorce is final, contact Mundahl Law to schedule a consultation. This may be your first divorce, but our attorneys have been through hundreds of them; we will make sure you haven’t overlooked any important details.