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Advice for the Newly Separated

Thursday, 17 April 2014

newly separatedAs a Colorado Springs divorce lawyer, it is interesting to watch the various stages that individuals go through when they file for divorce. Depending on the length of the marriage and the amount of emotional upheaval, the "newly separated" are known for doing some unbelievably stupid things. Divorce attorneys often see the fallout from these missteps, which often result in a very bitter and angry divorce.

This article isn't meant to be hurtful, or to make newly separated people feel unfairly targeted. Rather, it is meant to be helpful by preventing others from making the same mistakes. A recent article, published on Huffington Post Divorce, "Newly Separated? Don't Do Anything Stupid!" the author acknowledges how difficult, scary and precarious this time can be for people. Even the most confident and stable person can temporarily become an insecure and emotional mess. Needless to say, separation is a time of extreme vulnerability and weakness.

Because of separating from your spouse can result in a lack of self-worth, people are known to do stupid things and make poor choices. Fortunately this frame of mind is just temporary. If you want to avoid the complications that follow a string of post-separation mistakes, read on.

The article recounts a story about a divorced woman who left a long message on her soon-to-be-ex-husband's voicemail after a few glasses of wine. The threatening voicemail message included several four-letter words. Her ex-husband's attorney later played this message in court and she ended up losing the custody battle over their children. What makes this even scarier is how this kind of thing could happen to anyone.

While this situation was a combination of bad luck and a bad decision, newly separated people may not be aware of how much their behavior now can impact their life after divorce. It could affect their financial security, their visitation arrangements and the custody of their children.

Oftentimes, being newly separated makes people feel like they're on trial, or like people are watching and judging their every move. It can be difficult to anticipate your ex's next move or understand the implications of their new role as "the enemy." As many recent divorcees lament, it is a horrible feeling to acknowledge that someone you once loved is now trying to make your life miserable.

If you are newly separated, here are some things that you never, ever want to do. In fact, they shouldn't be done under any circumstances.

  1. Send emails or text that you wouldn't want your ex-spouse's attorney or a judge to see
  2. Leave voicemail messages after you've been drinking – or even if you're sober – that could be used against you later
  3. Speak negatively about your ex in front of the children
  4. Drink and drive
  5. Send off an email or text to your ex when you're really upset or right after you find out about something that he or she did
  6. Drink or take drugs excessively in an attempt to numb your anxiety
  7. Make threats to your ex
  8. Rip up or destroy all the photos of the two of your together, or throw away marriage mementos
  9. Take any actions out of spite, or just to anger your ex-spouse

Without a doubt, being newly separated is very difficult. Most divorcees look back on that time and remember lots of crying, frequent feelings of hopelessness and feelings of low self-esteem. It is clear that all of this emotional turmoil causes people to do things that they later regret.

It's okay. This period of "stupidity" eventually dies down and common sense takes over. But until that time it is important to prevent yourself from doing any serious damage. Remember, when you do stupid things there can be real consequences. This is one of those times when it really makes sense to count to ten before acting out on your feelings.

The article recommends that newly separated people think twice before exchanging nasty emails with an ex. Even if you receive a nasty-gram from them, wait until you are calm and rational before responding. A good idea would be to write a hypothetical response on a separate Word document and just vent but whatever you do, do not hit "send!"

Photo Courtesy of Theeradech Sanin /

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