When divorcing, the issues facing a male or female are often different. In a traditional marriage or even one involving same-sex couples, there is usually one spouse who is the primary caregiver for the children and another who earns more than the other if both spouses are working. Emotional issues are different as well. The following discusses some of the issues women generally face while the divorce is pending and after final judgment.
Co-Parenting with Divorce
Both spouses will have to deal with co-parenting. In most cases where young children are involved and the mother has been the primary caretaker, the children will continue living with the mother as their primary residence with visitation rights for the father. In considering the emotional impact on your children, consider the following:
- Refrain from disparaging your spouse or complaining about him or her
- Have your ex-spouse maintain a bedroom for the children and include the same amenities if possible
- Keep the rules and schedules consistent for both homes such as limited time playing video games
- Remind the children that they had nothing to do with the divorce
- Keep communication channels open for the other parent
Healing from the Divorce
A divorce is painful. Do not blame anyone or seek revenge but take these steps to bounce back from the trauma and consider it an opportunity for personal growth:
- Talk to friends about your feelings
- Keep a daily journal and include positive things about your day-do not beat yourself up or blame your spouse
- Concentrate on work or furthering your education or training
- Exercise daily, get enough sleep and eat a healthy diet
- When the divorce is final, take a vacation and enjoy yourself
- Consider a new activity such as golf or tennis
- If finances are a problem, get a female roommate
- Start dating again but not until you feel some emotional relief from the initial trauma over separation
Studies confirm that women suffer much more than men after divorce. You may be receiving child support and alimony, but alimony is temporary and you cannot rely solely on both these income sources to sustain you and your children. If you are working part-time, see about converting to full-time. If you need to, update your skills at adult school or a local college. Other suggestions include:
- Telecommuting job
- Sales jobs if you like people such as real estate or even car sales
- Join a women’s networking or similar group
- Make a budget and do not exceed it
- Do not take on new debt
- Get a second part-time job such as driving or working as a hostess or waitress
Budgeting your expenses is important. For example, stop drinking expensive coffee every day or buy an espresso machine and do it at home. Pack a lunch each day and consider cutting down or eliminating other unnecessary expenses such as manicures. If your house payments are too large, renting may be a better option and perhaps downsizing your car.
The Engagement Ring
Although not a major issue, questions do arise over what happens to the engagement ring? It is traditional to return the engagement ring back to the party who gave it. In some cases, it may have been from you as a family heirloom and you can ask him to return it. According to engagement ring law in many states, the ring belongs to the recipient and it is not marital property since it was a gift given before the marriage. An engagement ring is also considered a conditional gift. If the wedding does not happen, the recipient should return it. If the marriage does occur, the condition is satisfied.
In Massachusetts, however, the ring is considered marital property and a judge in a divorce can decide that it would be equitable if the recipient party retain the ring, especially if it has substantial value. Other options are for the ring to be sold and the proceeds divided or the judge may order the recipient party to return the ring in exchange for receiving something of equivalent value.
Retain Divorce Lawyer Doug Lovenberg
Doug Lovenberg is a Boston divorce attorney who has represented both men and women involved in a divorce or who are seeking a legal separation. If you have any questions about a Massachusetts divorce or are seeking representation, call him today. His concerns in a divorce case include how to deal with the emotional and financial issues that affect you and what steps you can take for life after divorce.