There’s no sugarcoating the emotional and financial effects of a divorce. While some people end their marriages amicably, most end up stuck, bitter, emotionally scarred and unable to move forward with their lives.
While it may not seem to be, you have a choice. If you commit to a practice of non-reaction throughout your divorce and afterwards, you will significantly reduce the costs of divorce to yourself, your kids and your bank account.
What is non-reaction? It’s a practice in which you make the conscious decision not to react to events, people and things in your life that previously got a charge out of you and caused you to act (or re-act) in a certain way.
Think of road rage as a common example – have you ever been in the car and someone cut you off and your immediate reaction is anger, maybe even yelling or flipping off the other driver? That’s a reaction. Your practice would be to not react the next time you are cut off or to react by smiling and thinking “have a nice day.”
I’ll be the first to admit the practice of non-reaction is not easy. That’s why it takes practice. But, I’ll also tell you if you master it, it’s something that will serve you every single day of the rest of your life.
I lived through an ugly divorce and today my husband has a loving relationship with our children and we have a great relationship because I learned not to react.
As you can imagine, I was frustrated, angry and sad like most people are when their marriage falls apart. And of course being a lawyer, my first instinct was to fight. I wanted to protect myself, my kids and my business that I worked so hard to build during the course of our marriage.
My ex-husband was a stay-at-home dad. He didn’t have a job and he couldn’t continue to live the same lifestyle he once enjoyed without my income.
Needless to say he disagreed. He staked claim to half my business and we had to go through the process of having a forensic accountant come in and determine just how much of my business he could walk away with. And he wanted child support and alimony on top of that!
My first inclination was to withhold and try to keep everything that I had worked so hard for and was rightfully mine. I wanted to dig in and fight.
Fortunately, I began to learn the practice of non-reaction. Consciously, I knew there would be very different outcomes depending on how I handled this situation and I would be held back from moving forward with my life and business if I continued to engage in battle with him.
After I finally got it, I agreed to buy him out of half my business and pay child support and alimony. Then I chose not to react when he spent all the money from our settlement instead of putting it in a savings account or using it for our children. This was EXTREMELY difficult to do.
But the hardest part was choosing not to react when it was time to leave my kids with him every other week and I knew he was not parenting them the way I would have. At the time, I wanted nothing more than to keep him away from my kids, but I knew they need a relationship with their dad and I had to trust that God would take care of that which I had no control over.
I now believe with my whole heart that choosing non-reaction is what saved my family and allowed me to move forward to with my business and life without the extra baggage that hold so many people back when they are going through a divorce.
Today I have full custody of my kids. My ex actually lives with me in the apartment behind the house and it’s great, 95% of the time. I also went on to build 2 million dollar businesses and fall in love again, simply because I didn’t allow myself to get stuck in the past or the pain or divorce.
I know it’s natural to react and lash out when you are going through a divorce—but I want to encourage you to fight that urge at all costs.
If I could do it all over again, I would have given in sooner. I would have immediately found out what it would take for my husband to feel comfortable financially and settled it without the involvement of expensive lawyers and forensic accountants. I wasn’t able to do that immediately though – it took time and a whole bunch of money.
So as you move through your own divorce, look at how much you can give instead of what you can get out of the situation. If you can do this, you’ll move through the process more quickly and you’ll eventually reap the benefits of peace, joy , love and prosperity!
About Alexis Martin Neely
Alexis Martin Neely is America’s Personal Family Lawyer®, an outside the box business coach who helps business owners mine the acres of diamonds in their business, and the Intrepid Mompreneur. Alexis is also the CEO and founder of the Family Wealth Planning Institute, a company that guides families and business owners to align their values and establish boundaries for maximum wealth. The Institute has trained hundreds of lawyers throughout the United States to work with families and business owners in a whole new way. The bestselling author of Wear Clean Underwear! A fast, fun, friendly – and essential – guide to legal planning for busy parents and a regular legal commentator for CNBC and BetterTV, you may have also seen Alexis featured on the Today Show, Fox and Friends, O’Reilly Factor, and Oprah & Friends radio. To follow Alexis’ journey running her business and raising her kids, subscribe to Alexis’ personal blog and to the Mommy Business channel. You can also follow Alexis on Twitter or friend her on Facebook.