What to Expect When You are Newly Separated
- After your divorce begins, it may take several months before your case is finally over. However, certain changes can occur earlier in the process. One of which may be you and your ex choosing to live separately during the pendency of the divorce proceedings. Depending on your situation, the idea of taking steps to live apart from your soon-to-be-ex may be daunting, appealing, intimidating, relieving, or all of the above. If you are preparing to separate from your ex, having some idea of what to anticipate beforehand may help make the transition easier. Here is more on what to expect when you are newly separated.
Separation Can be Intensely Emotional
- Talking about divorce and serving or being served with papers is the beginning of a multi-phase process. At first, it may not seem like your circumstances have changed very much. However, when you or your ex leave the home you shared as a married couple, what was once an abstract concept can suddenly feel very real.
- Separating is a significant and definitive step during divorce. Establishing an independent residence may be your first glimpse of what life will be like without your spouse. If you did not expect the divorce, suddenly being on your own may be overwhelming. Even if you initiated the case, no longer sharing your marital home can be painful and lonely. It’s not uncommon during separation for people to feel depressed, scared, relieved, and defeated all at once. You may also feel numb and find that you cannot fully comprehend the changes in your circumstances. Further, you could react by being resentful or having thoughts of regret and self-doubt. These emotions and others you may experience are part of the process and won't last forever.
- Divorce and separation can be highly emotional, and there is no set timeline for how long it should take for you to finish feeling a certain way. Your emotions may be erratic for a while. Be patient with yourself as you adjust to your new situation and take each day as it comes.
Some Friends and Family May Not Move on With You
- Establishing separate homes can send a clear signal to others that your marriage is over. At this point, friends and loved ones may opt to maintain their connection with your ex rather than you. Likewise, in-laws that you shared close bonds with during your marriage may stop communicating with you out of family allegiance. There may also be close friends who will disappear altogether from both of your lives.
- Losing people whom you believed to be close friends and family can be shocking and hurtful. However, it’s important to remember that you will also have people in your life who won’t hesitate to support you. Rather than focus on those who are not present, rely on friends and loved ones who have remained by your side. If you need additional support, you may also want to consider joining an area divorce and separation group.
Your Kids May Act Out More
- Depending on their ages and maturity levels, your kids may act out more once you or your ex moves out. While it would seem logical to think that divorcing parents moving into separate homes would reduce family tension, this transition can be highly stressful for kids. Up until now, they lived in a home with both of their parents. Shifting to life with a shared placement time schedule and seeing their parents independently can be a challenging adjustment. Further, the fact that you and your ex have moved into separate spaces may make the divorce more of a reality for them. As long as you lived together, your children may have maintained some hope that you and your ex could still work things out. Once one of you moves into a new place, the children may be forced to face the painful fact that your divorce is moving forward.
- Divorce hurts, and your children may not know how to express everything they are feeling. Their reactions are part of their transition. Do what you can to help support your kids during this difficult time. While you don’t have to ignore extreme behaviors, it may help to be mindful of what they are experiencing in their lives as you address their actions. If your kids are struggling with accepting the divorce, you may want to consider finding a child or family therapist to help provide guidance and support.
You May be Overwhelmed for Awhile
- Setting up and operating a home on your own during divorce can be overwhelming. As you emotionally adjust to your new life, you will have to attend to practical matters such as managing bills and maintaining your property. At times, it can feel like keeping up with your household’s needs while navigating the emotional tides of divorce is too much to handle.
- You may feel as if you have to have everything figured out right away—you don't. There are some immediate matters to address, such a paying the mortgage and bills during the pendency of the case. The more significant issues like how you will make choices during your divorce and get through the grief and pain of the experience can be dealt with over time. Further, long-term concerns such as establishing your future financial stability will be part of your plans both during and after divorce. Be patient with yourself as you adjust to the changes in your life. By setting realistic expectations, you can help maintain perspective as you manage both routine and major tasks.
Contact an Experienced Wisconsin Family Law Attorney
- Although it's not possible to predict everything that may happen when you are newly separated, there are steps you can take to make the transition easier on yourself. Doing what you can to make sure you are getting adequate sleep, nutrition, and exercise can help you maintain your well-being and control your stress. You can also benefit from working with an experienced family law attorney throughout your divorce. Your divorce attorney can provide you with the information you need to make informed decisions during your case. Further, they can help you connect with vital resources and advocate for you throughout the process.
- Attorney and Mediator Karyn Youso of First Look Family Law has extensive experience assisting clients during and after divorce and can help you evaluate your case and determine your next steps. Please contact us to schedule a consultation.