6 Tips to Start Preparing For Divorce
January is known as Divorce Month because more divorces are filed in this month than any other time in the year. If you think you may be going through divorce this year, you are likely overwhelmed and confused, not to mention emotionally distraught. It’s just not as simple as Hollywood makes it sound, where high-powered couples “consciously uncouple” left and right. It can be so hard to know what to do to prepare for divorce, but we have six tips to get you started:
- Make the Decision – It’s easy to stay in an unhappy marriage for months and even years. This makes complete sense because the idea of divorce is difficult emotionally, financially and logistically. But these aren’t reasons to stay in a bad marriage. Sometimes an event happens that makes the decision for you, but more often there is nothing specific guiding you in when to divorce, which is why people stay in limbo so long. Determine what you need to make the decision–therapy, understanding your finances, etc.–and begin taking the steps to get there.
- Put Your Children First – You need to consciously decide early on that you will put the best interests of your children first. This should be the lens through which your decisions are made. The effect of divorce on children can potentially be negative, but experts agree that it can be largely avoided through shielding your children from arguing, age-appropriate open communication and using an authoritative parenting style, to name a few. If you both commit to putting your children first, they will get through this transition more easily and the potential for long-term negative impacts will be lessened.
- Consult with a Lawyer – Untangle The Knot recommends this for everyone. Divorce laws vary by state and can be filled with nuances that can impact your particular situation. A lawyer will help you understand how the state laws impact your finances, support payments and parenting items. A lawyer will also help guide you on how to start a divorce, the process and alert you to potential issues. You don’t need to use a lawyer through the divorce process, but understanding your divorce from a legal point of view up front is very important!
- Know Your Numbers – You need to get a grip on your financial situation. It is critically important when you are considering divorce. You’ll need to know your current finances and how much money you’ll have on a monthly basis after divorce. Granted, spousal and child maintenance won’t be known yet, but it’s important to have a solid idea of where you stand without that.
- Start Planning – Begin thinking about other big decisions you’ll need to make. Based upon your post-divorce financial picture, will you or your spouse need to start working? How will this affect child care? Will one of you stay in the house? You will need to answer a myriad of questions, which can be absolutely overwhelming. We recommend that you look at your post-divorce financial situation first and determine what changes need to occur based upon that.
- Develop Your Support Network – You will need people you can count on through this journey. This could include close friends, family, a therapist, a support group, spiritual or religious leaders or organizations. Not everyone may understand or agree with your divorce, which may show you that people you thought would be in your corner are actually not. That will happen. Cross them off the support list and only include those who really have your best interests at heart.
As you start to gain more clarity around one item, you’ll be able to move to the next and knock that out as well. Little by little, your picture will become clear and you’ll know what you need to do. Sign up now for instant access to additional information about these topics and much more. We have 100+ pages of helpful information to guide you through making the decision to divorce or actually going through a divorce. This can be a lot to process. Take a breath and just go one step at a time. You aren’t alone. Let us guide you through your divorce journey.
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