November 9, 2017

Once you begin the divorce process, you’ll have professionals who will help you. An attorney will help guide you through the legal process, perhaps a financial planner to help you sort through the details of your new life. But before that all starts happening, there are some things you should know about preparing for divorce.

It’s Not “One Size Fits All”

Divorce looks a little bit different for everyone. Maybe you’ve known this was coming for some time; maybe it was a total surprise. But no matter what the details are, don’t be tempted to compare it to someone else. This is your life, make choices right for you. Here are 7 things to keep in mind.

Cut Yourself Some Slack

This is a very emotional time (for everyone) as you’re preparing for divorce. You’re likely going to feel the full range of emotions, from angry to sad to happy. Sometimes all at the same time. This is normal for someone going through such an enormous life change. Don’t be too hard on yourself, though. Blaming yourself, or being angry with yourself, won’t help. There’s no one way you’re “supposed” to feel or any sort of time table, so be gentle with yourself. You may find you need professional help to deal with things and that’s normal, too.

Get Financially Familiar

The monthly expenses might’ve been something your husband took care of, but that’s all going to change. You’re going to need to understand your total budget each month, and where you may need to make changes. It might be a good idea to talk to a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst who can guide you on what documents to gather before you’re ready to discuss your situation with your attorney.

Stay in Control

It can be tempting to hide your head in the sand and pretend this is all happening to someone else. But it’s your life, not someone else’s. You shouldn’t let things happen to you, you need to stay in control and make the best choices for you.

Save Jumping for the Olympics

You might have things in your head like, “I want to keep the house” or “he’s going to pay me alimony!” But already jumping to those conclusions may not serve you well. Yes, while those things could happen, make sure you keep an open mind. There may be other options you don’t know about that you’ll miss if you’re fixated on a particular outcome.

Don’t Hurry (Or Be Hurried)

The decisions you make right now will affect the rest of your life (or at least, the foreseeable future). Don’t be rushed, don’t feel like you need to make a decision “right now”. If you know you need time to think before you respond, say that! You need to make decisions that are right for you and your children, which won’t happen if you hurry.

Social Media Isn’t Your Friend Right Now

It might be tempting to vent online or to look at your soon-to-be-ex’s posts. But the Internet never forgets. Make sure you’re not posting things you wouldn’t want the judge to see or your kids to read. For now, it might be best to skip social media.

Keep an Eye on the Big Picture

It can be easy to get stuck in the details, because there are going to be a lot of them. But it’s important you keep an eye on the big picture and your goals for the divorce process. It might be helpful to make a list to use as a reminder.

The Bottom Line on Preparing for Divorce

Things can seem overwhelming as you’re preparing for divorce. And while we’ve been saying your situation is unique to you, you’re also not the first (nor last) woman to get divorced. If you’re struggling to figure out where to start, a divorce workshop can help. A team of professionals can answer your questions and help you get a grip on your situation. You don’t have to do this all alone.