Divorce is one of the hardest things that anybody goes through in life – apart, perhaps, from anticipating divorce. When you know it’s going to happen soon and you’re trying to get everything sorted out, you can feel overwhelmed. When it’s over, you’ll feel much better, but can you get there? Yes, you can. All sorts of people do, in very difficult situations. Just follow these ten simple steps and keep believing in yourself, and soon the bad days will be behind you.

Accept the situation

Even if you don’t want to get divorced, there’s no point using up all your energy fighting for a relationship you already know is over. Nor will it do you any good to be constantly angry with your spouse or with yourself. You need to focus your strength on looking after yourself and your children. If you get along with people at work, tell them what you’re going through and ask them to cut you some slack. If stress is making you panicky or dizzy, talk to your doctor. Take things easy where you can, and just get on with it.

Call on your friends

Don’t be shy of asking friends for help in a situation like this. That’s what friends are for, and after all, you’d do the same for them. If you have quite a few friends, arrange to be able to call on several of them so you can spread the load. Go for lunch, watch films together or play sports – things that will get you out of the routine of sitting around feeling glum. If you’ve lost touch with people, call them. They may well be pleased to hear from you.

Find a good attorney

In the age of the Internet it’s easier than ever to find local divorce lawyers who are both capable and sympathetic. A good attorney will listen to your story and then talk you through your legal options, which are straightforward in the case of divorce. You won’t be put under any pressure and you will usually be able to get an initial consultation without having to commit to going through the whole process. If you do feel ready to begin, your lawyer will explain what paperwork is needed.

Talk to your children

Some people try to hide the fact they’re getting divorced from their kids, but children aren’t stupid. It’s far better to talk to them at the outset but approach it in a positive way, saying that, although it’s hard, everyone will be happier in the long term as a result. Give them time to express their concerns, listen carefully and let them take an active role in working out what will happen to them.

Organize your legal separation

The first stage of divorce is separation, which needs to be made official by your lawyers. Either you or your spouse will then have to move out. Simply living in different rooms in the same house doesn’t count, and the separation will have to restart if you sleep in the same place even for one night. From this point onward it’s best to meet only on neutral territory, such as your lawyer’s office or, if you want to try and talk amicably, in a café.

File a petition

After you’ve been separated for the length of time your state requires, you can formally file a petition for divorce. This has to be done in the state where you live, which is partly why having a local attorney is important. The petition must include the grounds for divorce, which apply even in a no fault divorce and could be as simple as ‘incompatibility.’ It must also list all joint property, because the divorce court will have to decide how this is going to be divided.

Serve the papers

Once the papers have been filed, they will have to be presented to your spouse for agreement. This is something that your lawyer can do for you if you prefer. If your spouse agrees with your suggestions about the division of property, everything will be straightforward from then on. If not, your lawyer can help as negotiations commence.

File a parenting plan

As part of divorce proceedings, your state will require you and your spouse to file a parenting plan establishing how your children will be cared for in the future. Again, your lawyer can help you to work this out and may also be able to put you in touch with charities in the area which specialize in helping divorcing couples to arrive at mutually satisfactory childcare agreements.

Get help with the agreement

Before the final part of the divorce proceedings can be held, a final agreement over property will need to be reached. As well as legal help it’s useful to have emotional support in dealing with this, because often the most difficult decisions concern things that are of purely sentimental value. You will probably have to give up some things that are important to you in exchange for others. Don’t go into it expecting to keep everything, but have friends present to console you over your losses.

Have a party

Once it’s all over and the trial judge pronounces you divorced, you will be able to relax. You will probably find yourself breathing a sigh of relief – it’s never quite as bad as people imagine, and you will, at last, be able to put it behind you. Why not have a party to say goodbye to it properly? and start to take control of your life and take a look at 75 incredible things to do before you die | FatalDose and start enjoying life again.

A divorce party might sound odd, but they’re getting more and more popular. They’re a chance to let off steam after a difficult process and remind yourself that you have great friends who will always be there for you. They’re also an opportunity to look forward to the new, exciting independent life that lies ahead for you. Though you might need to spend some time recuperating first, soon you’ll be able to go out into the world and live life to the full.

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