Not too long ago, you said, “I do.”
So the two of you did, and it was good until it wasn’t and maybe it could be good again somewhere else. Maybe you’re together (for once) on this decision, both fed up and beat down. Is it time to undo “I do”? Think hard about it — and read “The New Rules of Divorce” by Jacqueline Newman.
Families sure don’t look like they did when your mother was a bride.
You didn’t consider that when you got married. You had fairy tales and “happily ever after” in mind but now the Prince is a frog. Do you call a lawyer?
Jacqueline Newman says to hold the phone a sec. She wrote this book, she says, in the same manner as she speaks to her divorcing clients: honest and straight. That sometimes includes advice to stick with the marriage, or at least hold off awhile.
Even so, remember that you may not be the only one making the decision to divorce: Your spouse might already be talking to a lawyer; if the writing’s on the wall, though, there are ways to protect yourself. Also remember: The courts are well-aware of “the change in the family structure.” That usually means two things: Alimony is rare and so is full physical custody of the kids.
Learn the “many facets of divorce” and the different ways to go about a legal split; at least one of them will keep you from going to court. Outside of your lawyer’s office, learn to keep your mouth shut — and that includes your time in court. Don’t air your dirty laundry, but do find your tribe: You’re going to need patient, good-listening, non-judgmental, been-there-done-that friends.
Try to maintain civility with your soon-to-be-former spouse, if not for your sake but for the kids.’ Make a list of things to ask your lawyer, and add the questions in this book to that list. And finally, “Just behave, please,” especially when it comes to children.
“Focus on your kid — and less on your ex.”
If you were like most brides, getting married took months of prep, money, decisions, and professional help. “The New Rules of Divorce” shows that splitting is no different.
It’s a giant step from thinking about divorce to actually making an appointment to get one, though, and without being pushy, author Jacqueline Newman shows you what you should know before you call. There’s a built-in deep breath in that less-frantic tone, one that might comfort someone who’s shaky about ending their marriage, but Newman also acknowledges that there are times to step up the pace. She has a chapter for that, too, first admitting that her honesty might make you weep. It may also make you snort because she can be funny — even if it’s in a you-have-to-laugh-or-you’ll-cry way.
“The New Rules of Divorce” is not a lawyer-substitute. While it’s written for a female point-of-view, “change … pronouns as needed given your circumstances.” If you’re divorcing, and thinking you probably do fine without it, you do not.
If you’ve decided to stay, then pick up “Love Skills” by Linda Carroll. It’s a book that will help you learn to forgive, reconnect, and love again.