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You had high hopes for your marriage. Your first meeting was ideal—at a local church picnic. Your courtship was a dream—many moonlight walks along the riverfront. Your wedding day brought tears of joy to your eyes. But then tensions began to arise and the marriage fell apart. As a result, you are now heading to divorce court.

Getting a divorce is more than just a traumatic event—it is one of the most stressful things that can happen in your life. You have come to rely on your husband or wife as your partner, as your soul mate, as your rock. Now, you must learn to do without, and the pain can seem intolerable.

The stress can make you feel as if you don’t want to eat and you no longer want to take part in the activities you once enjoyed—especially those activities you did as a couple. You might wonder if you will ever feel whole and relaxed again.

The sad fact is that families are broken by divorce each day. In fact, it has become an all-too-common occurrence in our modern world. Yet, there are proven strategies you can engage in in order to reduce the amount of stress you incur as a result of your divorce. While your divorce may still be painful, you’ll be able to weather it better if you follow a few simple recommendations.

One of the most stressful aspects of a divorce is the acrimony between the two parties. In order to make the process as smooth as possible, choose a lawyer you can trust. You might go to your family member, a friend, or even your doctor for a recommendation. You’ll want a lawyer who specializes in family law to ensure that your case is handled well.

Try to select a lawyer who is a good negotiator rather than one who tries to make his or her mark in the courtroom. That way, if difficulties arise, you’ll have someone in your corner who is determined to try to reach a peaceful settlement rather than attempt to battle things out in the courtroom.

Another stressful part of any divorce proceeding is child custody issues. If at all possible, try to work out custody before you ever go to court. A custody battle can be a long, intense process and it should be avoided if at all possible. If you can simply not agree on custody issues, you’ll have to prepare yourself for battle.

The more prepared you are, the better able you will be to handle the stress of the custody dispute. Make a list of all the reasons your children should stay with you. Realistically assess both your faults and those of the other parent. In this way, you’ll have a good understanding of the issues that are likely to come up in your custody case.

Yet another element to divorce is the financial aspect. A divorce can literally wreck your finances, so you will have to have a strategy in place to deal with the fall-out. Make a realistic budget and stick with it. Make sure you have an accounting of your personal assets and those you held with your spouse.

Determine whether there is any joint property worth fighting for. Also, keep tabs on your credit report. Your spouse’s reluctance to pay bills could show up as negative information on your own report.

As you go through the breakup process, consider joining a support group. This can lessen your stress considerably. Knowing that there are other people who are going through the same situation you are can be a tremendous aid in helping you to combat stress. You’ll have someone—or even a group of people—to turn to when things get rough.

There is no escaping the stress associated with divorce. However, the actions you take can enable you to significantly reduce your stress level. Also, it is important for you to keep in mind that a divorce is a transitory event. While some divorce cases last for years, there will eventually be an end to your divorce. The critical thing is for you to take each day as it comes and not to put yourself under more stress than you can handle.

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