Even the decision of when to proceed with the divorce will create very different choices and outcomes. When a couple can communicate well enough at the time of breakup to make decisions together respectfully and cooperatively, they are in the best frame of mind to proceed. However, if emotions are still running high and a couple’s communication is so mired in conflict that they can’t make even simple decisions together, they usually benefit by completing the necessary temporary agreements initially and waiting a reasonable time to tackle the more complex, difficult and permanent decisions of the divorce. Time often heals wounds and soothes frayed nerves. Allowing a reasonable time before proceeding with all the details and decisions within a divorce can be very healing, reduce stress and allow for the best results and possibilities to emerge. Even if you and your spouse cannot communicate or you think you will never be able to work together or communicate, keep reading. You will find good solid advice in chapters ahead that will make your divorce easier.

This critical slice of time and choices made reminds me of the movie, Sliding Doors. Gwyneth Paltrow plays a woman whose boyfriend (unbeknownst to her) is having an affair. Gwyneth is fired from her job early one morning and heads home. At this point, the story splits into two different realities. In one, she catches her train home and finds her boyfriend in bed with the other woman. In the second reality, she misses the train and, by the time she gets home, her boyfriend’s mistress is gone. The two stories continue from there, showing how her life proceeds along the two separate life paths based on catching or missing that train.

Choices you make in the initial phases of your divorce will lead you to very different experiences. Obviously, you are not making these choices alone. The two of you are determining the course of your divorce together, which can sometimes give you a feeling of powerlessness.