Preparing for Divorce Month
January has been dubbed “Divorce Month” in some circles because of the surge in divorce filings that happen after the new year. If you’re going to call it quits in 2023, here’s what you need to know and do to be prepared!
- Decide HOW you want to divorce.
From Mediation to Collaborative Divorce to duking it out in Court, there are many ways to end a marriage. I prefer the first two options for my clients rather than Litigation because of the responsiveness, flexibility and respect Mediation and Collaborative Divorce can offer to couples. Yes, you’re splitting – but that doesn’t mean you have to do it viciously. Mediation and Collaborative Divorce offer more peace-focused, work-together ways to break up than appearing before a judge in a cold courtroom, virtually, and waiting for her to make decisions about you and your family. How you divorce can determine how you move forward after your divorce – especially if you have children.
- Find an attorney.
Do your research online, ask friends for recommendations, check out attorney websites and make a short list of practitioners who seem to match your vibe and desired approach. Then email or call to set up introductory meetings to determine if the chemistry will work for you!
- Consider costs.
Not only the dollars you’ll lay out for representation, but the cost to your mental health if you choose a less responsive, more cantankerous approach. Identifying your priorities and values will help guide you to the right way to divorce, and if you choose a less combative path, you’ll likely pay less – not only in fees to experts, but in your time and well-being.
- Get your house in order.
Before you divorce, you should have a sense of the assets in your marriage – including values, deeds and documentation for your house and other collective property. Gather documents for investments, businesses, tax returns, and other assets in advance. Come to the table prepared with information!
- Learn the laws.
It never hurts to do a little online surfing to find out what the laws are in your state regarding divorce, custody, parenting time and marital assets. And of course, talk to your attorney about the laws. That way, you walk into the divorce process with realistic expectations for how your life might look after the split.
- Do some career planning.
Whether you’ve worked the whole time or stayed at home raising kids, it’s wise to build a post-divorce budget, establish your own credit and financial accounts, and look for the type of work that will allow you to live on your own once your marriage ends. Don’t worry or be afraid – planning and researching can erase anxiety and concerns, and help you create a workable plan for your future. You may have to change your lifestyle, but at least you’ll know what you’re walking into!
- Play nice.
You may want the divorce, or you may be hurt and angry that your spouse initiated the split – either way, do your best to get along, be kind and do not lash out. A divorce ignites lots of emotions – good people are often at their worst when going through a divorce. Keep your eye on the ball – a happy and livable outcome for you and your children, yes, even your adult children – and choose behaviors and words that will get you there.