Being empowered in divorce is the opposite from viewing oneself as a victim.
It is the difference from being in a place of strength to feeling out of control during and post-divorce.
Assess what you can control and what is out of your hands. You may be surprised that you really do have more input in your proceedings and can take a more active role.
Speak to your solicitor or mediator about what you want to get out of the divorce, preferably also in writing for their future reference.
I know a few acquaintances that felt helpless and just went with the flow, instead of being assertive. They are kicking themselves now post-divorce.
Empower yourself with knowledge.
A great site that answers many divorce questions is www.gov.uk and gives a glimpse of what to expect. Look up on calculate-your-child-maintenance the calculator which indicates what to expect for child maintenance in your situation.
Knowing what to anticipate ahead of time lets you think about Plan B. If you will be the receiver, and the amount seems too low, have a list ready of what else could be thrown in – sports, camp fees or other activities to be included as child support.
If you are the payer, offer more in spousal maintenance which is a tax break for you, and less in child maintenance, which is not. Being empowered is having an idea what you are up against in divorce and forming plans on how to deal with it.
One fellow who survived an acrimonious divorce suggests having a “victory garden.” Grow some vegetables – even in containers- to show the children that you are self-sufficient. Putting food on the table that you grew is another way to feel empowered. The added bonus is nurturing living things takes the focus off your problems and on to what is thriving in your care.
Uncertain financial footing can put someone in a tail spin.
One woman took her personal items, engagement ring, and family heirlooms to a business who sells goods online. She did this after her husband walked out and before she had hired a solicitor. She felt empowered going into the divorce, since cash would be coming soon.
Some solicitors advise their clients to get a job during divorce so that they feel more in control. Not only does this boost their self-esteem, but enables them to feel more secure during the proceedings when they know they have earning power.
Think about what your talents are and in what areas you excel.
Take up painting again as several divorce people did or get back into baking, sports, etc. Finding what you are good at and enjoying these endeavours, increases your self-worth and self-esteem.
One way another person tries to be in a place of power is by taking some else’s away and tearing them down. This is harder for them to do when you are recognizing and getting positive feedback on your strengths. Are you excellent in some of your roles? This may be as the star on your work team, being a great son, community volunteer, or parent. Visualize how well you are doing in these relationships when feeling helpless in divorce.
Be kind and nurture yourself to be in a position of strength.
Exercise, get plenty of sleep and eat nutritiously, even if it is healthy take-away. If you are sleep deprived, have low blood sugar, ready to cry or explode, this is going to hinder being empowered in divorce. Get centred, and take your time in responding, to keep yourself in a place of power during divorce and co-parenting.
Wendi Schuller is a published author who has conducted classes on various subjects. She draws upon her knowledge as a nurse, Neuro-Linguistic Programmer (NLP), and hypnotherapist, providing a blueprint to guide women through this difficult transition. Schuller hired an attorney for a court divorce, but decided to go the collaborative route instead and has worked with a mediator post-divorce.
Author of The Woman’s Holistic Guide to Divorce and The Global Guide to Divorce which will be published end of October.