Tuesday, April 6, 2004
Woman to Woman: Surviving a Divorce
As the song goes, breaking up can be hard to do. Yet statistics show half of all marriages won't make it. Between litigation and separation, the process can be devastating for both partners. In tonight's woman to woman report, how to get through getting a divorce.
(WSVN) -- Ellen Rowley thought she had the perfect life.
She dated her husband for four years before she got married.
"My marriage was wonderful," she says, "absolutely wonderful. We never argued."
Lisa thought she found true love when she walked down the aisle.
"I was absolutely like, this is the guy I wanted to spend the rest of my life with," says Lisa. "June 22 of last year was our seven-year anniversary."
And that's about the time Lisa says their troubles began.
Lisa and her husband grew apart... and now they're in the middle of a divorce.
"I was completely devastated because I loved him," she says.
Ellen's marriage fell apart too, divorced with a young son, she didn't know where to begin.
"I had to dive into it," she says, "look into files, look on computers, try to figure it out."
That's because, Ellen's husband took care of all of the finances... most of it done on-line.
Like many women, Ellen had no idea how the programs work... She suddenly found herself scrambling to find out what they had and where.
That's why experts say -- women should make sure they're involved in the finances... it's good for the marriage... and beneficial if you should get separated.
"The husband will clean out the bank account and leave you with nothing," says Karen Zone, a divorce expert.
Plus, don't isolate yourself -- look for support.
Karen runs a self-help group called D.A.S.H. or Divorced And Separated Help.
At these weekly meetings, you can pick up informational articles or books, find others with similar interests, or just talk to other people going through a similar experience.
Karen says, "Hearing what other people have gone through and how they've dealt with the situation may give you an idea of what you should not do in the case of a divorce."
Like don't feel guilty or think about what you could have done differently to save your marriage.
And don't be afraid to see a therapist if it can help you get back on the road to recovery.
"There's two parts of the divorce you have to go through," says Karen. "One part is the actual legal stuff and the acceptance part of the divorce, but the second part of the divorce is something that people forget about, and that's building a new life for yourself."
Both Lisa and Ellen are working on that.
"Instead of living each hour to the day, it's more like living each minute to the day," Lisa says.
"Just the fact that I got through it and came out OK, that was important," says Ellen.
One more "don't" from the experts -- don't sweat the small stuff, it could end up costing you more in legal bills fighting over the china, then if you bought a new set.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
D.A.S.H. - Divorced And Separated Help