The divorce is finalized, and you are exhausted. You just went through some of the most challenging moments of your life, watching your marriage end and the person you promised to love for the rest of your life now is your ex-spouse.
This change in roles can be challenging for many people. As emotionally depleting and volatile as the divorce experience can be, not everyone feels comfortable painting their ex-spouse as the villain in the narrative of their ended marriage.
Even when you were meeting with your family law attorney, you may have had trouble standing up for yourself and behaving as if your marriage is over.
This is understandable. Given the level of commitment that it takes to enter a marriage, it can be difficult to shift perspectives once a marriage begins to break down and divorce enters the picture. This is especially true when the end of the marriage is amicable. You want to continue a type of friendship beyond your marriage. However, for the sake of your future, you may need to take action.
As much as you do not want to see your ex-spouse as your ex-spouse, it is detrimental to your case not to treat her as such. You need to be proactive in your case and in your future by making a list of all of the possessions that you wish to keep.
Additionally, you need to be able to make a list of possessions that you want, but will not be overly heartbroken if you do not receive those. Whether this list is mental or written, you and your attorney are the only two who should know what those items and assets are.
You cannot allow your soon-to-be ex-spouse to have an advantage during the course of your divorce. Your perception of who they were in your life cannot be allowed to affect the outcome of your divorce.
Not a problem
For others, this may not be as much of a problem. Their perception of their ex-spouse may have been cemented in their minds, due to specific actions, events, or words that were said. There may have been infidelity involved or simply a constant state of toxic behavior, where your daily interactions became more unpleasant over time.
In these challenging circumstances, you may find yourself slowly resenting the other person as they continue to do things to needle you and drive you further and further away. They may stop coming home at regular hours and may wish to spend more time with friends or members of their side of the family. They may spend money without thinking of you or the well-being of the familial unit. Their outlook may become all about them.
In those situations, you often can begin to think about your spouse as your ex-spouse, even before the divorce process has been initiated. Some people begin to date before the process begins, which is something that you should probably avoid doing.
However, if your soon-to-be ex-spouse begins to do that, and uses marital funds to further her dating life while your marriage still is valid, you can use that in court, so long as it is provable.
Marital waste attempts to prove that one spouse in the marriage abused or intentionally squandered marital assets to deprive the other party of their fair share. Depending on a variety of factors, many courts will consider money spent on an affair to be marital waste.
If the relationship already was souring, this action will simply cement the perception you already have. This is important, because that perception can manifest into a grudge that you hold against your ex-spouse long after your divorce has been finalized, and that is not healthy.
Getting well and moving forward
As angry as you may be, you cannot let that anger dictate your life or your decisions. You need to live for yourself and your new future, and in order to do that, asking the help of a licensed mental health professional may be necessary.
You may need to deal with how you look at your ex-spouse moving forward, and therapy can help with that, giving you the perspective you need to avoid anger and living in the past. You can see clearly and have the strength to move on with your life.
Dan Pearce is an Online Editor for Lexicon, focusing on subjects related to the legal services of customers, Cordell & Cordell and Cordell Planning Partners. He has written countless pieces on MensDivorce.com, detailing the plight of men and fathers going through the divorce experience, as well as the issues seniors and their families experience throughout the estate planning journey on ElderCareLaw.com. Mr. Pearce has managed websites and helped create content, such as the Men’s Divorce Newsletter and the YouTube series, “Men’s Divorce Countdown.” He also has been a contributor on both the Men’s Divorce Podcast and ElderTalk with TuckerAllen.
Mr. Pearce assisted in fostering a Cordell Planning Partners practice area specific for Veterans, as they deal with the intricacies of their benefits while planning for the future. He also helped create the Cordell Planning Partners Resource Guide and the Cordell Planning Partners Guide to Alternative Residence Options, specific for seniors with questions regarding their needs and living arrangements.