Like many legal processes, divorce can be a “hurry up and wait” experience. You and your attorney may be working to meet a deadline one day, and then you’re waiting for days or longer to hear from your spouse, their attorney, your financial advisor or someone else.
All of this requires a degree of patience that is often in short supply for those in an emotional, stressful situation like divorce. Once you’ve made the difficult decision to end your marriage, you want it to be over as soon as possible. However, with important agreements to work out involving child custody, support and property division, it takes some time.
The danger of impatience during your divorce
While it’s normal to feel impatient, it doesn’t lead to good decisions. As one certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA) points out, “patience could be your best friend through a divorce….this is the time to learn the value of it.”
Impatience can lead to lashing out at your soon-to-be-ex, which is only going to make things worse. It can also lead to poor decisions like giving in to things you’re not really happy with just to move on or demanding things you don’t really care about just to get back at your spouse. If your spouse sends you an angry text or email, don’t respond immediately. Leave it and then re-read and respond later.
Focus on the “knowns” to stay in the present
So if you’re in the middle of the divorce process and waiting for your spouse and their attorney to provide information or for a court date that’s weeks away, what can you do to avoid letting impatience get the better of you? The CDFA recommends focusing on the “knowns.”
There are a lot of unknowns, and that can be overwhelming. What do you know? Your children will always be in your life, even if you’re still negotiating the custody schedule. You’ll be okay financially, even if you’re still working out the division of assets. You’ll still have your family and friends, even if you lose some “couple friends” you really weren’t close to anyway.
Rely on your team. Your attorney, financial advisor, therapist and other professionals you’re working with have experience, training and an objective perspective that can be invaluable in this situation — and they expect you to lean on them for guidance.