January is known as “divorce month” because most people begin the divorce process at this time.
It’s after the holidays and family gatherings.
Kids are back in school.
It’s the beginning of a new year.
Many people believe a divorce will resolve all their issues.
But will it?
In my practice, I have clients in different stages of divorce.
Some are contemplating divorce, others are in the process of divorce, and many are in the post-divorce stage.
At whichever stage they are in, they comment on the unexpected relationship changes from divorce.
Perhaps you’ve also noticed an impact on your relationships, whether you’re going through a divorce or know someone who is.
When considering divorce, direct relationships are the focus – those who live in the same house – your spouse and minor children.
Rarely does one think about the impact on other family members and friends – until it happens.
There’s a change in the relationship.
Those who used to be readily available are no longer there.
You no longer receive invitations to couple-oriented gatherings.
Then there’s the relationship with your adult children.
While they no longer live in your house, they are impacted by the divorce. And unfortunately, there’s little information about dealing with adult children.
No matter which stage of divorce you are in, follow these suggestions to preserve your other relationships:
1- List relationships that truly matter to you and focus on those individuals.
2- Be proactive and share your decision for divorce before they hear it from others.
3- Decide how much information you will share with each person. For example, your adult children do not need to know every detail – it may backfire and create resentment toward you.
4- Dedicate time with each person where you do not talk about your divorce. It’ll give you a break to focus on that person and let them know you care about them.
5- Consider hiring a professional to vent about your relationship instead of dumping it on your family and friends, especially if those individuals will continue to have a relationship with your spouse. (Also, do not use your family law attorney for venting – they will bill you for their time – a therapist may be less expensive.)
When going through a divorce, whether you’re in the beginning stages or later, it’s easy to focus on those directly impacted – those in your house – your spouse and minor children.
But remember, there are other relationships in your life you may want to keep long-term.
Focus on those individuals and let them know how important they are to you.
It can be exhausting because of the stress you’re dealing with, but in the long run, you’ll be glad you took the time to preserve those relationships.
(Update to original post from January 29, 2018)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Niv Persaud, CFP®, CDFA®, RICP®, is a Managing Director at Transition Planning & Guidance, LLC. Life is more than money. It’s about living the lifestyle you want and can afford. For that reason, Niv consults with clients on money, life, and work. Her approach capitalizes on techniques she learned throughout her career, including as a management consultant, executive recruiter, and financial advisor. Her services include developing comprehensive financial plans, divorce financial reviews, and retirement plans. Niv actively gives back to her community through her volunteer efforts. She believes in living life to the fullest by cherishing friendships, enjoying the beauty of nature and laughing often — even at herself. Her favorite quote is by Erma Bombeck, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say ‘I used everything you gave me.’”