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5 Tips to Make Your Divorce Process as Seamless as Possible

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Separating doesn't have to be messy, costly or complicated if you plan for it.

Instead of viewing your divorce as an ending, reframe it as a fresh start, using the opportunity to reconnect with your own needs and desires and grow as an individual. 

As you transition from marriage to single life, surround yourself with people who love and support you and practice self-compassion, says Anastasia Frank, a relationship coach who uses “Conscious Uncoupling” to help guide couples through the separation process amicably.

If you have kids, they’ll be just fine if you protect them from conflict, with both parents working as a team to provide stability, says Shari Bornstein, a matrimonial and family law attorney at Yacos Law.

Frank and Bornstein share their top 5 tips for making the divorce process as seamless as possible:

1. Become familiar with your finances

Both parties should have a firm grasp of their expenditures along with access to their financial information, including online accounts, Bornstein says.

“Sometimes clients don’t know what they have when they come into a consultation, or one party will know everything about the finances and the other has no idea. Know what the household expenses are. During the process of discovery, you’ll need bank account information, tax returns and W2s, as well as retirement account and life insurance policy information to demonstrate your living expenses,” she says.

2. Let your kids know you love them

Above all, let your children know you both love them so much and show them you’ll do everything you can to make it the best experience possible, Frank says. 

“Agree with your former partner to only speak positively or neutrally with each other so that your child or children feel and know it’s safe to love the other parent. Make time and space to simply be with them with total presence and love. Let them ask any questions they have, hug them plenty, and show them you’re as committed to creating joyful, loving adventures with them as ever, and that this is actually an exciting new beginning for everyone they get to help co-create,” she says.

 3. Consider a collaborative divorce

In a collaborative divorce, both parties work together to come up with options, and this can keep attorney costs down, Bornstein says.

 “The goal is to find a way to pivot to productive communication by using alternative processes like mediation, because even if you participate in litigation, the court expects that both parties will have had discussions and agreed on what they can to limit issues and disputes. If that needs to involve a professional, then by all means reach out to a professional. Consulting attorneys are professionals who support the process by providing you with additional information to make informed decisions,” she says.

 4. Process your feelings and then let them go

Mindfully tuning into your feelings and needs each day, allowing yourself the space to process whatever comes up, is an important practice for a person navigating divorce, Frank says. 

“Leave yourself at least 10 minutes as soon after waking as possible. Take some breaths and ask yourself out loud or in writing, ‘What are you feeling?’ Listen with curiosity to the answer. If there is core pain to be felt (such as grief or heartbreak) make space to feel that – five minutes is really all it takes, assuming you dive all the way into the heart of things and let yourself cry if needed. Then you can say, ‘I’m willing to let the sadness of this grief go. Please replace it with peace and love.’ In my personal and professional experience, it will be done,” she says.

5. Empower yourself to create an amicable process

Remember that you are the creator of your life, and if you decide your divorce will be as smooth as possible, it will, Frank says.

“Never underestimate your power to set the tone of how things go. You have the power to source generosity, kindness, thoughtfulness, and more. Even if you are hurting, you will find accessing these [qualities] and making them the melody of your separation will help you feel the best you can and set up the separation to go as smoothly as possible. There is light on the other side of this transition, as painful as it may feel in the moment. Freedom, connection, wisdom, joy, and love lie ahead. Have faith, goodness awaits,” she says.

Avatar for Heidi Borst

Heidi Borst is a freelance education, relationships and health writer based in Wilmington, NC. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Forbes, INSIDER, U.S. News and World Report, National Geographic, Good Housekeeping, and others. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Rutgers University. You can follow her on twitter @HeidiBorst.