Preparing for Divorce - Do This Before You Call Your Divorce Lawyer

By Adina Laver

You and your partner have been through endless hours of discussion, therapy and preparing for divorce emotional resized 600soul-searching and have both determined that it really is time to divorce. The next logical step is to pick up the phone and call your divorce lawyer or divorce mediator, right? Probably not. Here’s why making the call to your lawyer may not necessarily be your first step to preparing for divorce.

If you're like most people getting a divorce, by the time you feel ready to contact an attorney or divorce mediator to begin the divorce process, you are also feeling overwhelmingly frustrated, exhausted, angry, sad - or all of the above.  Let's face it, you can't think straight.

The good news is, you're not going crazy.

Activate Clear Thinking

We have all experienced these emotions at some point in our lives and one thing is clear – it is impossible to make important decisions when you are in the throes of these emotions. And when I say impossible, I mean just that. It is actually biologically impossible to make really clear decisions from an angry, exhausted, frustrated or anxious place. Here’s why…

When you experience these emotions, your brains undergo something called an "amygdala hijack." During an amygdala hijack, the brain perceives that there is a threat. For example, if a car were speeding toward you, your brain would perceive the threat, stress hormones would be released throughout your body, and rational thinking would cease so that all energy could be directed toward survival.

In other words, during an amygdala hijack, you become hyper-focused on immediate survival and unable to fully evaluate pros and cons and short-term and long-term consequences of decisions. But you don’t need the speeding car to get there. A heated argument with your partner will do just as well.

The amygdala hijack is one of the most significant impediments to drafting a quality divorce agreement. The impact of it drives costs up, drags the process out, creates more stress, and leads to decisions that do not serve well for the long term. 

Manage Emotional Triggers BEFORE Making Life-Changing Decisions

All is not lost, thankfully. So how to prepare for divorce? While you cannot prevent ever being triggered into a state of amygdala hijack, taking time to prepare emotionally for your divorce and learning some strategies to navigate the difficult decisions you will have to make can save you a great deal in terms of cost and aggravation and enable you to make decisions that will serve you in the long run. 

Preparing for Divorce: What to Expect Emotionally

So, before you call the divorce lawyer or divorce mediator in a state of emotional frenzy and costly you hundreds by the hour...

Take a deep breath, and join us on a new monthly group call: Preparing for Divorce: What to Expect Emotionally

On this free 50-minute group call, you will learn:

  • How to know when you are ready to make decisions and when you should sit still
  • How to activate clear thinking, especially after you have been gripped by the claws of an amygdala hijack
  • Specific tips for navigating difficult conversations in ways that achieve productive results
  • Tips for caring for yourself emotionally throughout the divorce process


About the Author

Adina Laver

Picture of Adina Laver As a life empowerment coach, Adina Laver, MBA, M.Ed, CPC helps individuals in transition, particularly separation and divorce, work past the difficult decisions they typically face. By leveraging individual strengths, Adina helps clients stay true to themselves and their values, especially during times of great pressure and emotionally-charged decisions.

Topics: Healthy Legal Options