Like everywhere else, marriages fail in Virginia. An important chapter of your life is over, and it may seem like life itself is ending.

It does not have to be that way. A smooth divorce is possible under most circumstances. Make the effort. Your life will be better for it.

Take care of each other

Avoid the classic mistake of treating divorce like a battle with your spouse. Emotions are running high, but it is not a matter of winning and losing.

Consider sitting down and discussing the issues with your spouse. Keep your emotions in check by preparing for the meeting when you are calm. Make a list of the issues, and focus on the list during your meeting. Do not let emotions get in the way.

Consider divorce mediation. Coming up with your own plan can be preferable to court proceedings.  Cooperation offers emotional satisfaction and can improve your relationship with your spouse.

Take care of your kids

Set aside open conflict when you and your spouse are around the children. Any conflict increases their risk of suffering psychological and social problems. Do not speak ill of your partner when you are alone with your children. They may feel compelled to take sides, adding to the stress for everyone.

Discuss plans with your children – together with your spouse, if possible. Kids do better when you involve them in your conversations about divorce. Tell them about big changes in their lives early, such as moving into a new home. Fewer surprises help them – and you – cope.

Take care of yourself

Yes, you are going through a difficult time. That is because divorce is difficult. Accept it. Take part in activities that you enjoy instead of feeling sorry for yourself. Research shows that making day-to-day life easier for yourself is good for your well-being.

Lean on your friends and family for support, and talk to people who have been through a divorce. Consider seeking counseling. Start building your new life before your old life ends.