Standing in front of the altar and saying, “I do,” never conjure up images of finding out about an affair or going through a dreaded divorce later on in a marriage. We all enter into our marriage with dreams of everlasting bliss and happiness, believing our partner will be faithful to us no matter what.
The reality is that a large number of individuals – men and women – become unfaithful to their partners. Whatever the reason, if this happens to you, you might believe forgiveness will not cut it this time and opt for a divorce.
Finding out about an affair is devastating and quite frankly in rocks your world, your marriage and how you feel about yourself. Separating only becomes more difficult when it is because of an affair but it is important to take the time to first settle your emotions before taking drastic steps. Now is not the time to lose control, physically or emotionally attack your partner, or calling in your personal ‘SWAT’ team. Stay cool.
In this article, you will find some helpful steps to follow if you ever find yourself in the position of dealing with your partner after the discovery of ‘the affair:’
Step 1 – Staying Calm During the Emotional Storm
Finding out your partner had an affair or is still having an affair, has the potential to tear your world to pieces. I know. I have experienced it myself.
Varying between feeling physically sick and staying in bed all day crying to riding up and down the emotional roller coaster, is only some of the many emotions experienced.
When a decision is made to get divorced under these circumstances, it is possible to do it amicably. The key is to stay calm and controlled and to keep a level head.
Having an emotional breakdown can have a negative impact on your outcome on your children involved and your future. Now is the time to take control, show what you are made of, and ensure you can create a better future for yourself and dependents if you have children.
Step 2 – Expert Help and Guidance
There are wonderfully qualified and skilled people that can help you along on this journey of getting through a divorce. It is advisable to seek the assistance of a counselor to help keep perspective.
A family lawyer is also required if your separation is more complicated and not straight forward. Family lawyers are able to provide you with the necessary legal advice to ensure that you reach the best outcome for you given your circumstances.
It is also a great idea to seek financial guidance from your accountant or financial advisor. This will help you to make plans for the future.
Step 3 – Which Process to Follow?
I have never heard of anyone keen on going to court. Although most individuals often think they will need to go to court during their divorce, this is not true. Believe it or not, it is more than possible to settle without setting foot in court.
The different options are:
Kitchen Table Negotiations
One of the easiest ways to settle a divorce amicably and without much cost is to do it ‘at the kitchen table.’ (Preferably when the kids are not around or when you have had a few wines.) If you and your ex-partner can set a time to get together and talk about your separation, discuss all your disputes and try to agree on as many points of discussion as possible, it will speed up the settlement process and keep things in good standing between you.
Once you reach an agreement, it is vital that you have your agreement drafted into Consent Orders by a lawyer. This will ensure that your issues are finalised.
Lawyer Assisted Negotiations
If you are not able to reach agreement through your own negotiations then you may need to engage a lawyer. A good family lawyer will be able to give you solid legal advice and knows how best to reach agreement in your circumstances. , Consulting a lawyer is recommended if your case is complicated, and involves domestic violence or your ex-partner is not objective towards coming to an agreement that is to the benefit of both.
A mediator is a trained professional. This person is neutral to both parties. He/she sits informally with or shuttles between both parties to reach an agreed settlement. You may or may not have a lawyer present here. Once you have reached an agreement then the agreement should be finalized by way of Consent Orders or a Binding Financial Agreement, depending on your circumstances.
Step 4 – Respectful Communication
Once you are in the process of separation, it is important to continue communicating respectfully with your ex-partner; as well as with relatives, friends and any others that might know you or your ex-partner.
More often than not, divorce proceedings are prolonged due to an ex-partner saying something ‘unflattering’ or ‘disrespectful’ about or to the ex-partner. Due to the human ego being so vulnerable at the time of divorce, you might want to consider choosing every word said to your ex-partner wisely.
Instead of saying something in the heat of the moment, take some time to calm your emotions. If you do, you will find that you do not want to say it anymore.
Step 5 – Get Down to Business
Get all your things in order by gathering documents in a file or folder. Make copies (or save copies digitally) of important documents, including passports, ID’s, bank statements, and many others.
Once you enter into negotiations to reach final settlement regarding property or parenting, being organized is really important as it can keep things flowing towards a resolution.
Divorce and separation is by no means a fun thing to go through, especially where children are involved. But following the above steps, you will be able to amicably decide on how to handle parenting arrangements and how to divide the finances and property, if you wish to separate after finding out about an affair.