Useful Coping Strategies for a Divorce

When entering a legal partnership with another individual, many don’t expect the marriage to lead to divorce. Divorce is easily pegged as one of the most stressful times of someone’s life emotionally, psychologically, and even physically. Plenty is happening during a divorce, and often the events are out of one’s control. Practicing healthy coping strategies during a divorce is highly recommended to ensure each spouse can positively navigate the new normal.

The Legal Aspects of Divorce

The dissolution of marriage or divorce is a legal process of terminating the marriage or marital union between two individuals. Many situations can lead to divorce, but as a result, the couple decides they no longer want to live together or be married to each other. Once this decision has been reached, a couple pursues divorce through the legal system where legal papers are signed to confirm the divorce. No divorce case is the same, and many factors can affect the length of a case – from reasons that led to the divorce, attorney involvement to marriage type, such as high-asset. The court system will determine a variety of details for the couple as a result of divorce:

  • Child custody
  • Parenting time
  • Child support
  • Spousal maintenance
  • Property division

The state of Minnesota follows the equitable distribution law, meaning rather than all marital property being divided directly in half, the judge assigned to the divorce case will decide what is most fair for each party. Regardless of the case details, each party involved in a divorce is  encouraged to seek guidance from an experienced family law attorney.

In the case that the couple choosing to divorce created a prenuptial agreement earlier in the relationship, financial and property rights will already be established. Today, many couples decide to create prenuptial agreements which is a practical tool to ensure both parties’ agreed-upon disposition of assets and any financial support is protected should either party seek a divorce.

Grieving Is Normal

Even if an adverse event causes the decision to dissolve a marriage, it’s still customary to grieve the relationship’s loss. Grieving is a natural human reaction to loss, and divorce means the loss of numerous details of an individual’s life. While one may consider the emotions to be out of character, it’s okay to accept the feelings and run their course. The many losses associated with  a divorce may include the following:

  • Shared experiences and memories
  • Companionship
  • Emotional, intellectual, social, and even financial support
  • A change to hopes, plans, and dreams

Don’t Fight the Feelings

Grieving itself comes with many ups and downs, meaning one’s emotions can change when least expected. These emotions can include anger, relief, fear, resentment, sadness, and confusion. Both parties must be aware of these emotions, know that it’s normal, and be prepared to address them as presented. Suppressing or ignoring the feelings leads to an unhealthy grieving process.

Talk About It

While it may be challenging to talk about the situation or feelings with others in one’s life, it’s vital to utilize available resources and make others aware of the emotions. Not only will this help the grieving process, but it will encourage others to check-in. In case one doesn’t feel comfortable opening up to others, writing in a journal can be useful in processing thoughts.

Come to Terms With Moving On

Divorce is life-changing and opens the door to a new chapter for both parties. Taking time to recognize the situation and address what steps led up to this point will help when moving forward. One must try not to hold onto negative feelings or attempt to over-analyze the situation.

A Future Is There

Life doesn’t stop with the departure of the other partner; it’s only just beginning. While many hopes, dreams, and plans are created when sharing a life with another, change is okay. Letting these aspirations go can be challenging, but now it’s time to focus on the big picture and discover new goals. 

Be Conscious of Emotions

Both parties involved in a divorce should take time to check-in with oneself. The grieving process can be excruciating and can often lead to depression if not managed correctly. Over time, emotions will be worked through, and sadness will subside, but if emotional and psychological improvement doesn’t seem to occur, it may be time to seek professional guidance such as therapy or a support group.

But What About the Kids?

While divorce doesn’t involve the children in a family, it still significantly affects them. It’s encouraged to be available for one’s children and provide support as needed. Children often blame themselves for a divorce and have a fear of losing a parent. Divorce is emotionally taxing, and  those going through one  are encouraged to practice coping mechanisms in order to  care for one’s children and oneself.

Utilize the Support System

Whether going through a divorce or another life-changing event, a support system surrounds many individuals, whether they realize it or not. Periodically, one may seek isolation or alone time, and while that can be healthy at times, finding comfort  in one’s support system is highly recommended.

Friends and Family

Coming to terms with a divorce and sharing this information with friends and family can feel embarrassing, but these individuals can help, support, and give advice. Some may have experienced the same situation and provide hope for healing. Positive support during this time can be critical. 

Therapy and Support

Counselors and support groups are available for individuals going through a divorce and coping with the aftermath. Ask a primary care provider for recommendations, look at a local library, or explore the local resources provided by one’s city or town. Finding an environment that is comfortable to open up and share one’s thoughts is of high priority.

Meet New People

Over the marriage duration, couples often combine social networks, or one spouse may enter the other’s social network altogether. Divorce often results in one or both spouses losing a portion of a social network. Don’t let this be discouraging; make an effort to meet new people, and build a personal social network. From getting involved in community activities or finding volunteer opportunities to taking a class or getting involved in a networking group, there are various options to help one successfully navigate divorce.


Check-in with oneself and take time out of each day to participate in calming self-care activities like reading, yoga, or listening to music – choosing whatever activity in life that brings happiness. It’s encouraged to pay attention to oneself and address what is needed at any given time. Don’t put too much additional stress on oneself during a divorce; try to avoid any big decisions like getting a new job until there’s been ample time to recover.

It’s recommended to avoid coping with alcohol, drugs, or food, which can lead to an unhealthy and destructive lifestyle in the long run. Even while one may be searching for ways to relieve feelings of pain and loneliness, there are other healthy options like meditation and journaling.

Establish a Routine

Divorce causes schedule changes and can disrupt numerous areas of one’s life. Identifying individual needs and establishing a new routine will help one get back on track and feel purposeful each day, even when emotions are high.

Discover a New Hobby

Take this time to flourish and follow a passion that one may have brushed aside previously. Even though divorce is life-changing, it’s an excellent opportunity to explore new interests and hobbies. Taking the initiative to do so will help one enjoy this new way of life rather than reflecting on the past relationship and time s.

Learn and Grow From It

While it may seem like the effects of divorce won’t subside any time soon, stay positive. Eventually, unfamiliar feelings will diminish, and one will become comfortable in this new way of life. Take the divorce as a learning opportunity and pull the positives out of a negative situation. Every divorce case is different and involves details unique to the couple. If professional legal guidance is needed, seeking an experienced family law attorney is recommended as it will help one navigate this new life.

This article contains general legal information and does not provide legal advice. For legal advice, please contact M. Sue Wilson Law Offices directly.