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You can cope with your divorce (really)

On any given day, life can seem totally overwhelming. There's work stress, kid stress, school stress, money stress and health issues to deal with -- so how do you manage to cope when your marriage stress turns into a divorce?

Carefully. You have to be prepared to focus on your kids, yourself and your divorce -- in that order -- for a while. Everything else may have to take a backseat.

Here are some tips:

1. Realize that the changes are huge.

You are probably not going to hold onto a semblance of your old life in any real way.

More than just your spouse no longer being present, you may find yourself relocating, looking for new friends and changing everything about yourself. The harder you try to hold onto the past, the more self-created stress you'll feel, so don't grasp too hard on what you had. Instead, try to embrace the changes.

2. Cut negative people out of your life.

Part of "not hanging onto the past" means that you may need to make changes to your social circle. If your in-laws aren't supportive and able to be civil around you, don't deal with them. Let your ex-spouse take the kids over for visits.

If you have friends that seem negative or critical of your decision, drop them out of your social circle -- or drop yourself out and find a new group of people who can be more empathetic. Close relatives and your oldest friends may be excellent sources of support.

3. Find experienced legal counsel.

A divorce attorney isn't there to make your divorce more antagonistic or difficult. The ultimate goal is to protect your interests while providing as smooth a process to your eventual freedom as possible.

Make sure that you tell your attorney everything about your finances, goals for custody and other related matters to get the best results.

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