When you and your spouse decided to separate, you never thought you would have to go through months and months of a drawn-out divorce process. Deciding who gets what, where the kids will live, and even how to attend future functions may be taking longer than you thought. You are constantly taking phone calls and answering questions when you just want it to be over.

Unfortunately, people are often so focused on the financial aspects of marriage dissolution that they ignore the emotional side effects. They can lose sleep, become short-tempered, and begin to slowly unravel as the stress creeps into every aspect of their lives. In this state, they are not only likelier to suffer ill-health, but can also be less likely to be able to function during negotiation—putting their future livelihood at risk.

Here Are a Few Daily Tips That Can Help You Survive Your Divorce Mediation

  • Take your time – The first step to surviving mediation is to accept that it will take time. Do not expect to walk in, sign a paper, and leave. Carefully look over each item on the agenda and discuss your expectations with your attorney. Don’t accept any proposal that does not suit you just to “have it over with”—if you’re not sure about a decision, sleep on it.
  • Listen to your body – It’s easy to overlook your physical and mental health as you struggle through a divorce. The stress of separation can take a toll on your body both emotionally and physically, making it more difficult to be at your best during mediation. Think of mediation as a sport that you have to train for. Make sure you drink plenty of water, get eight hours of sleep every night, eat right, and get regular exercise. A strong mind and body is your greatest asset at the negotiation table.
  • Visualize your future – Many people are so overwhelmed during mediation that they are tempted to give their spouse anything they want. While it may seem like a relief to have the process over with as quickly as possible, the decisions made in mediation could potentially last for the rest of your—and your children’s—lives. Instead of focusing on what would make you happy now, think about what would make you happy in 10 or even 20 years in the future.
  • Take a break – It is only natural that your divorce may weigh on your mind during your daily life. In order to make it through, it is vital that you take breaks from thinking about and talking about the proceedings. Resist the urge to call people right after your mediation. Instead, take a walk through a park, go shopping, visit old friends, or go for a drive. Make time every day for things that make you happy and stress-free.
  • Get support – If you feel like you are no longer in control of your life, you should always seek help. Find a supportive friend to discuss your problems with. If you find yourself discussing the divorce constantly, you may want to talk to a therapist until the process is over.

Remember: the key to a successful divorce is preparation. Get the facts on common divorce pitfalls and problems in our FREE divorce books.

Molly B. Kenny
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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington