Once you decide to divorce, you must take immediate action to prepare for the process. You have time to get everything in order, but only if you move forward in an efficient and timely manner.
No two people will take the same steps in preparing for divorce, but there are things that everyone in this position should consider doing. Here’s some guidance:
- Take care of yourself: Above all else, you need to take care of your physical and mental well-being. If you let your health slip during this time, it will only complicate the process and add to your stress load.
- Prepare your finances: Property and debt division have the potential to lead to conflict, so you want to prepare to the best of your ability. For example, you can create a checklist of your assets and debts. You can also gather pay stubs, tax returns, bank statements, retirement account statements and any other documents that may be necessary.
- Protect your children: If you have children with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, take steps to protect them and ensure that they understand what’s happening. Neglecting to do this up front can cause long-term harm.
- Don’t engage with your spouse: Now isn’t the time to get into detailed conversations with your spouse. For example, if you have concerns about child custody or spousal support, discussing it with your spouse isn’t likely to end well. You’ll probably end up arguing, which only complicates the situation moving forward.
- Prepare for the future: It doesn’t seem like it now, but there will come a day in the near future when your divorce is in the past. When that day arrives, you want to be in position to hit the ground running with your new life. For example, create a post-divorce budget to guide you as you reestablish your life.
Taking these steps will help you prepare for the divorce process and everything it’ll throw at you.
You can’t prepare for everything, as there are sure to be surprises along the way, but that shouldn’t stop you from trying. When you have a sound plan in place, you can proceed with confidence.