Divorce: Some New Year’s Resolutions


The holidays can be hard for someone who has gone through a divorce, especially when that divorce happened in the past year. This is true if you were the person who didn’t want the divorce and for those who were the ones to file for divorce. (But let’s be clear, no one ever really wants to divorce.) With the holidays behind you, the new year is a great time for a new plan to get you back on the road to happiness. Here’s some ways to help you get started down that path:

  1. Sign up for a class that interests you. Yes, it’s hard. You already have a busy schedule managing your house, your kids, your job. You’re tired. But do it anyway. Maybe it’s photography, pottery, painting, woodworking…The list is endless. Decide what is of interest to you, do a little internet research, and sign up. Commit to do it for at least two months and get a friend to do it with you. The activity will give you a small window of purpose and you may just find a new passion.
  2. Commit to getting regular exercise. Yes, it’s hard. You already have a busy schedule. (Sound familiar?) But it doesn’t have to be anything complicated or expensive. If you want, of course there are paid options – gym memberships, yoga studios, personal trainers. But there are also plenty of free options – walking or running in your neighborhood, a neighborhood tennis court, local running clubs, exercise videos you can follow along with at home. The key is the commitment. Try to enlist a friend to join you. The benefits are numerous: your own physical health, your own mental health, new or strengthened friendships, and again, maybe a new passion.
  3. Volunteer somewhere. Nothing fills up the soul like volunteering your time to help those in need. Do it alone to meet some new people, or take the kids and make it a new family project. Do it once or do it monthly. And the variety of options are endless. You can sort food at food banks, help at pet shelters, serve the homeless. Just choose what speaks to you the most.
  4. Let go of the regret or the resentment. Facts are facts. The divorce is done. You can choose to be stuck in a world of regret for having filed for divorce or resentment toward your spouse for divorcing you. Or you can take care of yourself, and your children, by moving forward with your life. One way you can help to get rid of the negativity is to engage in acts of kindness towards your ex-spouse on behalf of your children. On your ex-spouse’s birthday (or Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Christmas – or all of them), take your children to buy a gift for him or her. Agree to swap days when they ask if you have nothing in particular planned with your children. Letting go of the anger or the guilt could be the single greatest gift you give to your children, and yourself.

Rhonda Cleaves is a divorce attorney in Plano, Texas. She is Credentialed in Collaborative Divorce and works to help her clients through all aspects of divorce, including legal, emotional, and financial effects. To schedule an appointment with Rhonda, call Cleaves Family Law at (972) 403-0333.

Rhonda Cleaves

Rhonda began practicing law in 1995. She left a successful civil trial practice in 2005 to concentrate on family law — specifically, helping families transition to postdivorce life. She now practices exclusively in this area.

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