Few things can trigger anxiety like a divorce. Not only might a spouse be losing the home they shared when the family was intact, but he or she may be losing the income from the other spouse, the opportunity to see children every day, but also the identity that comes from being married and the “couples friendships” that go with it. Add to that the specter of messy litigation, and that can take a tremendous emotional toll. Folks going through divorce usually feel like they have it all together, but their children, co-workers and friends know that may not always be true. You need help, and that help should come from a professional.
While your attorney is a professional, and a trained legal advisor, he or she is not equipped to help you process the many non-legal concerns and emotions that may surface. And a good attorney will recommend that you seek the help of a qualified mental health professional. Frequently, parties become concerned that getting this kind of help will weaken their case or make them appear needy or “crazy”. Far from it! Going to counseling shows self-awareness and good judgment. Taking care of yourself can and will help you work through your feelings of loss during this time. It can also positively impact how you handle your work, your parenting, and how you move forward into this next phase of your life.
While you may think that your children are unaffected by your divorce, often times children may not show any signs while the actual divorce is taking place, but feelings may surface even years later. Childhood and adolescence are hard enough without parents’ splitting up. Add in going back and forth to two different homes, different rules, and a greater loss of control, and it is exponentially more frustrating. Before your child lashes out with harmful behaviors or trouble in school, take time to seek out someone for your children to speak with about their feelings regarding the divorce. Providing your child a safe space where he or she can vent that isn’t you or your co-parent may be the most positive thing to come out of your divorce.