Individuals going through a divorce often experience fear. The uncertainty of their future can sometimes be so severe that the individual becomes immobilized and unable to make decisions. They are going through a huge life change and their daily life as they knew it has ended.
Some Specific Fears Divorcing People May Face
- Where to live. The concept of home that they have become accustomed to has changed. Where will they live? Can they afford to stay in the family home? What type of residence will they be able to afford? How far away can they move if they need to?
- Impact on the children. Most divorcing parents fear that the decision to divorce will have a negative impact on their children. Will the children be able to stay in the same home, go to the same school, participate in the same extracurricular activities? The COVID-19 pandemic has ramped up this fear, forcing parents to deal with school closures, visitation safety, and activities outside the home. Parents may disagree on their approach to protecting their children during the pandemic. One parent may fear the other parent is not taking proper precautions and be frightened their children will get sick. This fear can lead to even greater conflict than usual over the proper care of the children.
- Financial insecurity. How can they afford to pay for themselves and their children as a single parent? How can they manage to maintain two homes on the same income that used to be just enough for one home?
How Not to Respond to the Fear
People may respond irrationally to fear. Some common mistakes include:
- Making emotional decisions that are not in line with their normal choices.
- Posting on social media what is happening in their life, including disparaging remarks about their soon-to-be ex-spouse. These posts can hurt the person in court, have a negative impact on the children and their custody and visitation, and can include statements that are against the person’s own best interest.
- Hiding assets or transferring all of the money out of a joint account.
Need for Counseling
The most effective way for us to help our clients deal with their fears is to tell them to reach out to a counselor or therapist who can help them work through these issues. It can be a psychiatrist, psychologist, faith-based counselor, or whomever the client feels comfortable with. This will help them deal with fear in a rational way, so that important decisions can be made, and they can move more successfully into the future.