6 strategies to manage your work and personal life during a divorce so you can regain control and avoid burnout
- No one can predict a divorce. When your marriage doesn't work out, it's hard not to let it negatively impact your work and personal life.
- Research studies associate divorce with trauma; people who have gone through a marital separation are prone to more stress and depression.
- Business Insider spoke with two divorce attorneys who shared six strategies on how to manage your work and life during a divorce.
Divorces are hard. When your marriage is over, it's nearly impossible not to let that major change dictate your work and personal life.
Divorce and marital separation can be traumatic. Divorcees who struggle to cope can develop defense mechanisms that affect their future relationships, according to research in the Journal of Traumatic Stress. People who experience a marriage loss can also have increased stress, lower life satisfaction, and depression, Psychology Today reported.
Kelly Frawley and Emily Pollock, partners at the New York-based law firm Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP, shared six strategies with Business Insider for how to better manage your work and life during a divorce.
Schedule a specific time during the day to discuss your divorce
Constantly checking your email to get updates on proceedings will make you less productive and more stressed. Frawley and Pollock recommend picking a specific hour or two throughout the day where you speak with your attorney or deal with any divorce-related issues.
"Create boundaries when you can have discussions about the divorce," Pollock said. "Go to it when you choose, as opposed to having it encroach on your life."
If you're fielding requests from divorce attorneys at all hours of the day you'll lose focus in the office and your work will suffer. Setting boundaries for when you can discuss an ex-spouse will also prevent burnout.
Create an email address exclusively for divorce paperwork
Ending a marriage comes with a lot of paperwork. Income statements, divorce papers, questions from attorneys, and bills are just a few of the things you can expect to see arriving in your inbox.
This is exactly why you should consider creating an entirely new email address (separate from both work and personal) that can be used exclusively for divorce information, Frawley and Pollock said.
"There's a lot of administrative stuff that comes along with getting divorced," Pollock said. Having a separate account keeps everything organized in one place. It will also prevent important messages from getting lost in cluttered work or personal inboxes.
Your lawyer is not your therapist
Divorce attorneys bill for their time, and spending hours on the phone venting about your spouse to your lawyer can result in higher-than-expected legal fees.
"Venting is something that should be left to friends and family and therapists," Frawley said. Instead, keep your communications with your attorney strictly legal in focus.
Create a detailed log of what you already discussed with your lawyer
Even if you're not spending time on the phone with your lawyer complaining about your spouse, you could be wasting money if you're not keeping track of what you previously discussed. Calling your attorney with redundant requests will just jack up your fees at the end of the day.
"The topics are emotionally charged," Frawley said. "It's hard to retain the information."
You can also request your lawyer keep a log of past topics. For example, Frawley and Pollock follow up every client call with a detailed email about what was discussed.
You don't have to tell your boss, but you might want to
Whether or not you have to inform your boss about your pending split depends on the kind of job and income you have, Pollock and Frawley said. But it may be a good idea to tell your manager about it if you expect to be out of the office for extended periods of time to deal with divorce-related issues.
"Have a frank conversation where you say this is on the horizon, and there may be some unexpected absences," Pollock said.
Pollock and Frawley advise avoiding discussion of your divorce with coworkers entirely, unless they also happen to be close personal friends.
Build a support network outside of your office
Managing a full-time job, a divorce, and all of your other day-to-day responsibilities can be overwhelming - which is why you should have a network of close friends and family who you can go to when you want to talk.
"Having the right support network is really important," Pollock said. "It's a big deal to get divorced, and you want to make sure you have people around you that are going to help you process that."
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