Ending a marriage can be emotionally difficult for spouses in Virginia and around the country even if they have been thinking about divorcing for some time. Dealing with legal papers, poring over financial documents and making an inventory of marital assets often takes a heavy toll, and it is not unusual for divorcing spouses to turn to drugs, alcohol or other forms of release. However, there are steps they can take to reduce the strain and get through the process with their psyches intact.

Discussing difficult issues with close confidants and family members may ease the burden, but it could be unwise to base a legal strategy on their input. That is a job best left to professionals. Diversions such as reading or exercise are a healthy alternative to narcotics or alcohol, and they could provide long as well as short-term benefits. Strenuous workouts also offer an outlet for aggression and release spirit-lifting endorphins. Other ways to avoid falling into a maudlin routine include pursuing new interests, spending time on hobbies and reestablishing contact with old friends and acquaintances.

The number of matters that must be attended to during a divorce can be overwhelming, and many of the decisions that are made can cast very long shadows. Narrowing down a list of priorities and seeking the advice of financial planners and other experts could help people to deal with the emotional strain and avoid costly pitfalls.

Experienced family law attorneys may help their clients to cope with the psychological aspects of a divorce as well as the legal issues involved. Attorneys could suggest consulting a therapist with experience in this area for help with these matters, and they may recommend less adversarial approaches like mediation to clients who could find traditional property division and alimony negotiations emotionally taxing.