It is a new year and we can never predict what lies ahead, but there are definitely many adventures to be had. If you are going through a divorce, there may be many challenges ahead, but regardless of the challenges, there is always a silver lining in every difficult circumstance.
With that being said, I have listed some of the common challenges you may face dealing with divorce this year, but alongside that I have also listed some of the wonderful accomplishments and adventures you may gain along the way:
1. Heartbreak Over A Failed Relationship. When divorce happens, there is heartbreak, especially if you are the spouse that wanted the relationship to work. Understandably, heartbreak is emotionally and physically taxing and can be magnified in divorce. You and your spouse have invested considerable time into each other and there are many dreams you both had for your family. While it is normal for individuals to go through a grieving process, this is also a wonderful time for you to focus on what is ahead. Set new personal and professional goals, think about some of the hobbies you have always wanted to master and the places you have always wanted to see, especially if Covid-19 restrictions are on its way to being eased in Hong Kong and around the world! For many of you, this could also mean a new start in building new relationships and getting back into the dating scene. Divorce is not the end and there are many wonderful experiences and memories you will encounter over your lifetime.
2. Finance Woes. Divorce can wreak havoc on your finances. For example, a court may order you to pay monthly maintenance for your spouse and for the children, which will cut into your monthly income. In a divorce settlement, you may be required to pay out a significant sum to your ex-spouse to equalize the division of assets and debts. The nest egg you saved in your retirement accounts may also be cut in half as part of a divorce settlement. While the financial pressures associated with divorce can cause great stress, this is also your chance to become empowered to take charge of your finances and create a roadmap for your future financial success. It is during this time that it would be beneficial for you to meet with a financial expert to plan a budget and manage finances following divorce. If you are the receiving party to maintenance, it is not wise to squander your monthly support cheques or your lump-sum divorce settlement with no thought to your financial future. This may also be a good time to think about entering back into the job market and should be discussed with your solicitor about how this will play into your divorce.
3. Co-parenting Rocky Road. In divorce, you and your ex-spouse will begin to co-parent. For some parents, co-parenting is easy with no issue. However, other parents find co-parenting a nightmare and have difficulty communicating with each other. Co-parenting may be difficult for parents, but this “new normal” is also very difficult for children and pets. Remember that this is difficult for everyone involved, especially when you and your ex-spouse are sparring over co-parenting issues. While co-parenting can be rocky, it is a great opportunity for you and your ex-spouse to work on communication skills with one another and with your children. Talk to your children about what the divorce means for them and how it will affect their relationship with you. Ask your children how they feel and what you can do to make the transition easier. Using this difficult situation as an opportunity to build communication bridges with your children will be rewarding in the long-run. Remember that it is important not to use your children as a weapon against your spouse during divorce proceedings. Avoid talking to your children about adult issues related to the divorce. Finally, now that a new family dynamic is being created, this is also a great opportunity to create new traditions and new routines for your family.
With the start of the new year, consult with your attorney about how you would like to proceed in your divorce and the goals you would like to see by the end of the year. Setting goals for your divorce will help you overcome every challenge you face during divorce. Once you get past the challenges, you can then look back and be proud of your accomplishments.