Getting a divorce is never an easy decision, particularly if it is an idea that comes from only one member of a couple. If you think divorce is the right path for you and your spouse, there are many practicalities to think about. You should have a clear plan to deal with these issues and prepare for any problems you might face.
Things You Should Consider When Divorcing
1. Start Saving Money
You should start building an emergency fund as soon as possible. Especially if you have no money saved. Put this money in a bank account your spouse has no access to, in case of the worst-case scenario. You should use this money to pay for lawyers, moving costs and other expenses that come with a divorce.
Plus, this money will be your buffer. It is going to be tough going from a two income household to one. Even though you may receive child and/or spousal support in your settlement, it may not be enough. And if your divorce is disputed and drawn out, it is possible that you won’t receive any money till the divorce is final. You want to make sure that you and your children will have enough money to survive if that happens.
2. Give Yourself Time To Grieve
Once you decide to separate and divorce, you are going to go through a lot of emotions. And some of them may be quite surprising and catch you off guard. Personally, on the day of my divorce, I was a basket case, even though I was the one that chose to walk away. I felt a great loss for the hopes, dreams and future plans I once had for our lives together. I felt like a failure. And of course, I had second thoughts.
The ending of a marriage can be a distressing time even if you know it is the right thing. You should take time to come to terms with the end of the marriage. Talk about your feelings with trusted loved ones or see a licensed therapist to work through your emotions.
3. Find A Place To Live
You should start researching places to live. If you have children with your spouse, you should look for places locally that will allow you plenty of opportunity for contact. Look for a home with space for your children. You may need to rent initially, but once your spouse buys you out of your shared property, you should this down as a deposit on your own property.
Another option may be to stay with your children in the marital home. This option would be less disruptive to the children for sure but could you afford it? As well, you should consider how your ex would feel about that. Maybe they would be resentful and decide to fight you tooth and nail. In my experience, it is not worth the battle. Both you and your children would be in for a long, bumpy ride.
4. Prepare For The Process
Divorces can end up in lengthy legal battles if they are contentious. You should research the process and understand how every step will play out. The better prepared you are, the quicker it will be, and the more likely you are to have factored in every eventuality.
If the decision to divorce is mutual and amicable, you don’t need to have lawyers. That will save you a lot of time and money. It is actually a surprisingly easy process if you and your spouse have agreed on support, asset allocation, and custody. Your local family court can help you with information and guide you through the process.
5. Keep Documentation
From the moment you decide to divorce, you need to document everything. Who is paying for what, the conversations between the two of you and your children, any verbal agreements and when your children see each parent, where and how long. It sounds tedious, I know. But even if you are both in agreement right now, that may change and then you would have to think backwards. Log days and times.
As well, you should make a list of shared assets, their estimated value and which items you wish to keep. You should get an outside source to give you estimates for larger assets, like your home, car and collectibles. Get it in writing. Take photos of the items to file with the list and provide this to your and your spouse’s lawyer once you have begun the separation process.
6. Splitting Assets
You may need to buy out your spouse if you own property together and wish to stay in it after the divorce. Consider your options for home loans and refinancing to generate the funds you need. The Home Loan Expert has a variety of services to help fund expenses incurred during your divorce and that can help you make good, informed decisions going forward.
Other things you should value and split when divorcing include debts, life and health insurance, savings accounts, retirement funds, and work and government pension plans. All of these items need to be discussed and divided, and not necessarily equally. Especially if you have been a stay at home mom for most of your married life. You may be entitled to a lot more than you think. Ask your lawyer.
7. Work Out Custody Arrangements
You should try to make your divorce as smooth as possible for the children. Try to be reasonable and keep the needs, wants and well-being of your children the top priority, especially when discussing custody.
You should try to decide on custody arrangements with your spouse and avoid getting lawyers involved if you can. You do not want to get in a battle and end up in court and having a judge decide what is best for your family. If possible, settle child custody between the two of you.
Always talk calmly and rationally to each other in front of the children and never talk bad about the other parent to the children. This will ensure the transition is as easy on your children as possible.
8. Consider Using Mediation
Another great tool available to you during the divorce process is mediation. Especially if you have a few issues that the two of you can not agree on. Mediation can help smooth the process without the stress and expense of going to court. A trained mediator can help you negotiate and resolve disagreements without taking sides.
Research mediation services in your local area and find one that has experience in mediating divorces.
9. Be Prepared To Be Alone
It can be a big adjustment to go from a couple to a single person. You should mentally prepare yourself for living alone and making decisions alone. You may lose some friends and family during your divorce. You will probably be going to social events by yourself until you eventually getting back into the dating world.
Take your time, give yourself grace and allow yourself to adjust to your new life.
Divorce will always be stressful but you can make it a lot easier when you are informed and prepared for the process that you will have to undergo. Don’t make it harder than it needs to be by considering all the above practicalities.