If you are considering, starting the process or in the middle of a Divorce, keeping a journal is imperative. A well-kept documentation of conversations, events and decisions may turn out to be a tremendous resource to you and your case. It can also assist you through the daunting process of separation and divorce. Many times there is a significant period of time between separation and the filing of a Court Motion that begins the Divorce process, the more prepared you are, the easier the process will be.
The Divorce process can be a stressful one; with added responsibilities, especially if you are a newly-singled parent. Emotions can run from high to low, there are so many decisions to be made, not only for yourself, but also for your family. Keeping a written journal is extremely helpful and can also be very therapeutic.
Your attorney should recommend a journal, this is a place to organize your thoughts, document conversations, log decisions and logically collect your thoughts. Most attorneys do not want to see or read it. You're paying them upwards of $300 plus an hour or more so you certainly don't want to them using the their time reading months or even a years’ worth of entries. This most important document is a reference is the place to refresh your memory and retrieve valuable information to support your ongoing case.
If you have children you will want to include the daily ups and downs that they may be experiencing. When it comes to your children it is best to document what you, a caregiver or teacher may be seeing. Your journaling should not include an "interview" summary of your child's visitation time, in fact, courts frown on that type of questioning of your children for the purpose of gaining details and information. Please don't use your kids as your personal spy into your spouses new life.
Clearly, if a child is visibly shaken or is distraught, gentle questioning can be helpful in calming them down, but, grilling a child is not going assist them through the difficult time of transition between parent households. A general, “Hi, how was your time with Mom/Dad, is not considered interviewing”. Conversation should be upbeat natural and not forced. Under normal circumstances a journal entry for every visitation time should not be necessary.
Journaling can reveal problems or issues with your children, say you find that when a child returns from a visit they are overly sad, or before they leave for a visit they could be anxious, or like in most cases before and after visits they are completely normal and adapting well. Journaling will help you determine if there are any patterns revealed for you to be concerned about.
Journal entries in some divorce case may also be used as documentation in the divorce proceedings; this is where it would be appropriate for an attorney to view an entry.
The divorce process can be a long one, it's very easy to forget specifics like dates, times, number of times, specific wording, or conversations; some of these things may not seem relevant at the time, but can be useful to your case down the road. Always date your journal entries.
By far one of the biggest rewards in journaling is to look back and review your thoughts or perspectives, check in on your own emotional progress and to hopefully see the course of healing as you progress through the pages of your journal. Look, some divorces are easier or harder than others. Hopefully, through the process of penning your thoughts, frustrations, concerns, hopes, accomplishments, and dreams on paper it will provide you with insight to mapping out your successful future.
Kerry is a Certified Divorce Coach and the Founder of www.divorceresponseteam.com
Divorce Response Team© 2016