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The new year gives us all the opportunity to start off with a blank slate. At the beginning of the year, personal development seems to be on top of everyone’s mind; whether that means regaining your confidence through a new health regimen, or gaining control of your finances, or mustering up the courage to finally pull the metaphorical trigger on a heavy-hearted decision.

With all the excitement and encouragement surrounding new years resolutions, it may not come as a shock that January is a very busy month for family law firms. This phenomenon is attributed to a multitude of factors; perhaps you know someone who experienced a disagreement regarding the custody schedule for the holidays. Maybe a good friend of yours proposed to the love of their life amongst the winter magic, and is looking to carve their future out with a prenuptial agreement. Or, more than likely, you know of someone who went through the holiday season as one last litmus test to check the strength of their marriage or partnership only to realize that it is perhaps, time to move on.

With regard to the last scenario, most are anxious to explore their options after they come to their decision and with that anxiety comes a wave of questions: How do I tell him/her? What’s the easiest way to do this? What’s going to happen to us? The kids? Our assets? Yes, it’s all enough to make your head spin. Rest assured, there is a master plan and expert solution to be discovered for all the problems previously listed. The most important part is that those who come to this decision approach it with a feeling of certainty.

1.With that in mind, here are 3 helpful things to remember when it’s time to start the divorce process:There is a difference between giving up and knowing when you have had enough. The former suggests a severe lack of effort. The latter comes from a place of self-respect. Before this decision, you have probably tried to salvage this marriage with every fiber of your being. Each marriage is different, and each couple comes across their own set of challenges. Ideally, there is a valuable lesson to be learned after each disagreement with the belief that overcoming the conflict will progress your relationship into a new level of understanding. In contrast, it goes without saying that progression is less likely to be guaranteed when there is no resolution in sight. Do not place yourself in a dead-end position to be lied to; disappointed; taken advantage of. Redirect the strength that you’ve been using to hold on to finally let go. In the words of the philosopher Lao Tzu, “new beginnings are often disguised as painful endings”.

2.Every seemingly hard lined, calculated, rational strategy comes with a residual impact of irrational emotions and reactions. Balancing the nuances of divorce or separation is tough. For starters, there is the inclination to be as cold, cunning, and tactical as possible; there are numbers to look at, there is case law to get familiar with, and there are procedures to follow.  As stated earlier, it’s all enough to make your head spin. Not surprisingly, most end up hyper-focusing on the tactical side of things out of a need to sublimate the emotional impact of the situation at hand. There are many ways to face this internal battle of rationality vs. intuition, and it starts with one thing: acceptance. Truth be told, you will drive yourself crazy over-analyzing and logically dissecting every aspect of your divorce at an attempt to avoid the inevitable emotional tolls that come. Our advice? Ride it out. Find a healthy way to properly process whatever mental state this situation has brought to you. You’ll find that gaining control of your emotional state will have a significant residual effect as you poise yourself for the upcoming challenges ahead.

3. You are responsible for your own happiness. The consensus is that marriages have a tendency of going south when there is a misappropriation of responsibility. Understandably, many spouses and/or parents underestimate such an idea though it turns up as a very common denominator in divorces. In a marriage, when you place the responsibility of your fulfillment on someone else (yours spouse, your children, etc.), have you thoroughly thought about the gravity of that request? From a parent’s perspective, your children deserve to learn what a loving home is really like. As much as you want to, do not mourn the loss of what you thought your life was going to be. Move on. A brand new beginning awaits you.

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