By Judge Anthony Bompiani, Founder of Judge Anthony Consulting
At the time of my separation in 2018, I was more prepared to go through a divorce than pretty much anyone on earth. I’d been a family law attorney for nearly two decades; I was serving as a minor court judge and had a degree in psychology. I also knew how to negotiate and learned about the courtroom and the court process as well as the art of persuasion. With my experience, I thought I knew it all. Right?
On paper, I was fully equipped for what was about to happen, but once the process began, I felt like a rookie. I was stressed and worked up, realizing I had no idea what I was doing.
Telling your children about your divorce is one of the worst things a parent can go through (We have three young boys). Add all the other negative feelings experienced throughout a divorce, and it becomes insurmountable. It’s the perfect storm of emotion. There’s the feeling of loss, failure, shame, and guilt, along with community and religious pressure.
There’s a constant process of questioning our decisions and overall existence. Am I doing the right thing? Am I the bad guy? Did I ruin my child’s life? What are my friends going to think? Will my family have my back? What will my pastor think? It’s never-ending. Throw in the fact that it’s the first time many people are exposed to the legal system, and it’s no surprise people lose their minds. No one wants to be in court, let alone when it feels like one’s world is falling apart.
This stress can change a person’s character. The problem is many attorneys and judges don’t realize this. They don’t fully grasp the pain that the parties go through when they embark on the journey of their divorce. Unfortunately, this inhibits our ability to represent and be present for our clients.
It wasn’t until I went through my divorce that I realized this. So, I decided to do something about it – I started with self-reflection. I realized that I was obsessing over the process of my separation and I was drowning in details. I was also always watching my back, questioning everything I said, and taking issue with everything my ex said. After looking inward, I broke down and realized I didn’t want to be that person.
Through reflection and testing methodologies, I developed four ways to stop obsessing over the pain of the process so that I could be myself again. Through my consulting business, I’ve shared these tips with people throughout the world, and I’ve seen many people regain their true character and maintain their peace.
Here are the four divorce recovery tips that will help you stop obsessing over a divorce that you, or your clients, can put to use.
It’s easy to talk about meditation, but it’s not easy to develop a consistent practice. For it to work during a divorce, it must be consistent. One divorce recovery tip I recommend you set aside at least ten minutes every day to meditate.
The exact method is up to you. You can sit in silence with your eyes closed while releasing the negative feelings that come your way or visualize your life as you desire it to be. It also helps to repeat affirmations like “I am strong, I am at peace, I am worthy of love.” People can follow guided meditations on Youtube or Spotify. But, whatever you choose, you must commit to the practice for at least 30 days for it to work.
Daily Digital Detox
A good divorce recovery tip is the daily digital detox, you’ll stop using technology at least one hour before you go to sleep and one hour after you wake up. Throughout the day, our phones can mess with our moods and ability to think clearly.
It’s even worse during a divorce. The only things you’ll find in your inbox are the needs and priorities of other people. To maintain character throughout the process, you must prioritize yourself and your mental health. You can start this with a daily digital detox.
Wait an Hour Rule
Inevitably, you’ll get nasty communications from your ex via text or email. If you respond with anger and emotion, it’ll be unproductive and likely come back to hurt you in court. To eliminate emotion, and to ensure rational responses, I recommend waiting at least an hour to respond. Take a breath. Clear your head. Do something you enjoy, preferably outside, then take another look at that message.
Develop an Alternate Focus
Another divorce recovery tip that helps is finding something that takes your attention away from your divorce and gives you a feeling of fulfillment, progress, and enjoyment. Setting goals for yourself outside of the divorce can help meet these needs. These can be fitness, spiritual, financial, or health goals. They can be anything that’ll help you grow.
Write them down and write out your “why” in detail. Keep it somewhere you can see every day. Focus on it. If you have children, relate your “why” back to them.
Remember, if you don’t take care of yourself first, you won’t be at your best to take care of your children or anyone else who relies on you.
No matter what, divorce isn’t easy
At the end of 2020, I retired from the bench in the middle of my term and slowly exited my law practice. I did this to start a consulting business so that I could help people around the world who are going through a divorce. The laws may differ, but the pain and process are the same. By following these divorce recovery tips, I’ve been able to help more people than I could have ever imagined.
Now, I’m certainly not recommending you give up your practice to consult. But, I encourage you to learn to understand your client’s pain and agony to serve them more effectively through the life-altering process of divorce.
Judge Anthony Bompiani is a retired judge and family law attorney turned consultant. He’s the founder of Judge Anthony Consulting and co-founder of Court Clerk, a family court case management software program for non-attorneys. Judge Anthony has been featured in Forbes, Success Magazine, Men’s Journal, and more. In addition to working with clients one-on-one, and in small groups, he has also created online programs for people around the world who are struggling through divorce and custody battles. For more information visit www.judgeanthony.com