Have you been thinking about getting a divorce but don’t know where to start? I promise, you are not alone. Before you pull your hair out, we have put together these 6 steps to make surviving divorce a little easier.
We have also created a FREE Divorce Financial Documents Checklist to help you start getting organized!
1. Develop a Protection Plan
Before you tell your spouse.
Before you tell your friends.
Before you tell your kids.
Think about your career. Does your career provide you with enough income to support yourself?
Create a cushion. Putting a little money aside will help you pay your bills during negotiations with your ex.
Reduce outflow of money. You want to take some time with this and really look at areas where you have excess spending. When you are living off of one income, the last thing you want is extra stress.
Restore your credit. Okay, at this moment you may or may not have poor credit. But you want to think about your credit in the future as a single person. A good way to start would be to go out and apply for a secure credit card. This will help you establish a credit history as an individual.
Mind your mail. If you are starting the search for attorneys or related divorce professionals, you may not want this mail sent directly to your home. It may be a good time to set up a P.O. box or have a secure place for this mail to be sent.
2. Understand Your Options
Hey, we get it. We know that DIY is all the craze right now but trying to navigate through the legal side of a divorce on your own is not the way to go. A divorce is usually an emotional time and its difficult to think clearly when emotions are spiked.
A divorce can be settled in a few different ways.
Collaborative Divorce. Do you want to stay out of court? Maybe you should approach the collaborative method. In this option, each side will most likely have an attorney that will help walk through the negotiations to come to a settlement that works for both parties. This way tends to be more mutual.
Mediated Divorce. Here is another way to avoid court. Hire a mediator. The mediators job is to work as a middle man and not favor either side. This way can be a little more of a challenge if you find it hard to speak up for your own interests.
Litigated Divorce. Do you feel that your divorce may become a power struggle? If so, a litigated divorce may be the best option for you. In this scenario, instead of negotiating on your own behalf, your attorney will present your issues to court for a decision.
3. Be Your Own Detective
Think of divorce like an intense poker game.
Each side will want to have the upper hand and keep their information secret. This is where it will become your job to gather all of the information to make your side of the case strong. Make sure you know all of your household assets and income to be sure that you are getting a fair settlement.
4. Records, Records, Records
Do you pay the bills for your household? Do you know what each of your expenses are?
If not, this is a great time to gather this information because this will help you get a grasp of where the money is flowing in your household.
Once you announce your desire for a divorce, it may be difficult to put your hands on bank statements, credit card statements, tax returns, etc. These are items that you will need for a Financial Affidavit.
Check out our FREE Divorce Financial Documents Checklist to help you start getting organized!
5. Be Financially Smart
Dig deep into your finances and understand how they work. This will help you take a more educated approach towards your divorce and be able to recognize or negotiate a fair settlement.
While splitting assets (house, retirement accounts, or cash) take into consideration the longterm costs of each. For example, a house has maintenance costs and retirement accounts could have fees and taxes.
6. Determine Your Priorities
Take a step back and look at the big picture.
Surviving divorce can be a tough journey, so determining your priorities aheads of time can make the process somewhat smoother. With a clear vision of what you want, it is easier to let go of the small things that could cause tension.
Arguing over something small can draw out the process and cause it to be more expensive in the end. Instead, focus on the things that really matter and what your needs are.
Divorce can be scary and daunting, but with a clear plan you can be prepared. These six steps will help you while surviving divorce and prepare you for what the future has to hold. To help prepare yourself even more, check our other guides HERE.