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Transitioning through a Boston divorce

Some Boston spouses probably imagine life beyond the end of an unhappy marriage to be different than it actually is. Spouses who initiate divorces may look forward to embracing a new freedom, free and clear of the past. Some are surprised to learn the transition from a married to an unmarried state isn't entirely liberating.

For most Massachusetts couples, the divorce process – at least the legal aspect -- begins with the filing of a petition and ends with a decree. Along the way and beyond divorce, ex-spouses and their children also encounter physical and emotional changes: relocating, furnishing a new home, adjusting to a one-income lifestyle and coping with changes in personal relationships.

You may not anticipate some losses. Friends, who aren't sure how to deal with someone who is no longer part of a couple, may drift away. Former relatives decide to "take sides."

Parents often have a difficult time adjusting to co-parenting after divorce. They dislike continuing "relationships" with ex-spouses after going through the stressful process of untying legal connections to them. The task of putting children's needs first is necessary, but no one said it would be easy to communicate with an ex.

Former spouses must avoid letting leftover hard feelings interfere with parenting at a time when exes are both trying to navigate new lives. Parenting is ongoing. There's no down time, during or after divorce, to allow emotional baggage to become lighter.

Many spouses try to speed through divorce. There's nothing pleasant about child custody, support or property ownership disputes. Rushing toward a decree can be a mistake – ask anyone who regretted the hurried terms of a divorce months or years later.

Realize many divorce choices are rooted in marriage-related emotions. The decisions you make during end-of-marriage negotiations are long-lasting, unlike most feelings experienced during the legal process. Attorneys can spell out the implications of hasty divorce decisions.

Source: Today, "10 things I wish I'd known before getting divorced" Nicole Feuer, Jan. 29, 2015

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