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Leaders in Family Matters

Keep your Mental Health as Healthy as Possible During Divorce

Woman seeking comfort

Addressing your mental health during a divorce is essential for navigating this challenging life transition. Divorce is emotionally taxing – even easy ones – and taking proactive steps to prioritize your mental well-being can significantly impact your overall resilience and recovery. 

First, an acknowledgment and acceptance of your emotions is a crucial aspect of maintaining mental health during a divorce. It's normal to experience a range of feelings such as sadness, anger, grief, joy, guilt and anxiety. Give yourself permission to feel these emotions without judgment and understand that they are a natural part of the process.   

I also recommend that while you should acknowledge and accept those emotions, you should be very, very cautious of acting on emotion.  As Legally Blonde taught us all: “The law is reason, free from passion.” - Aristotle.   The not-so-subtle subtext here is this: cooler heads prevail.  So, while you should not deny or bottle your emotions, you also should balance that against actions that will best serve you in your litigation – in other words – anger and vitriol in a divorce will serve you very little and will most likely cost you tens of thousands of dollars.  Since I am already dripping in historical and movie references, I will add this last literary reference: Do not be like Shylock and demand a pound of flesh… it will turn out for you as well as it turned out for him.  The Merchant of Venice – William Shakespeare.  

Seeking support from friends, family, or a therapist is another important step. It is very expensive to rely on an attorney to be a therapist, and attorneys are not trained to deal with such issues.  Turning to a trained therapist is generally a good route for most folks. Talking about your feelings with someone you trust can provide a sense of relief and help you process your emotions. Professional counseling can offer guidance on coping strategies and provide a safe space to express your concerns.  Do be cautious about airing your grievances on social media.  Social media can and does come back to haunt litigants more than we would like.  

Taking care of your physical health is closely linked to mental well-being. Ensure you maintain a healthy lifestyle by getting regular exercise, sufficient sleep, and a balanced diet. Physical activity can release endorphins, which are known as "feel-good" hormones, contributing to a positive mindset. 

Establishing healthy boundaries with your ex-partner is crucial for your mental health. Clearly defining and respecting limits in communication can reduce unnecessary stress and conflict. It's essential to prioritize self-care and allocate time for activities that bring you joy and relaxation, helping to counterbalance the emotional challenges. 

During a divorce, legal processes can be overwhelming. Seeking the guidance of a professional, such as a divorce attorney or mediator, can provide clarity and support. Knowing your rights and understanding the legal proceedings can alleviate some of the stress associated with the divorce process. DO NOT seek legal advice from a paralegal’s service.  If you have not talked to the attorney directly, do not take legal advice from non-licensed individuals – while I know I sound biased, I cannot underscore how many times I have been asked to correct something a paralegal service has done, and I will impart that there is very little fixing that can occur.  You do need to get this right the first time.  

Addressing your mental health during a divorce is crucial for navigating the emotional challenges that arise. By acknowledging your emotions, seeking support, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, establishing boundaries, seeking professional guidance, creating a support network, and practicing patience, you can foster resilience and lay the foundation for a positive post-divorce future.