There’s no doubt about it, divorce is not for the faint-hearted. While some people settle their divorce on amicable terms, others may go through and hell and back to sort through finances, property, and child custody.
However you look at it, getting a divorce is not easy, but it doesn’t have to follow some Hollywood-esque trajectory of misery. If your marriage has failed, this alone is enough to deal with. The process of divorce can be a smooth one — although plenty of preparation is necessary.
Learn how to get through a divorce without losing your mind in this blog.
1. Always Opt for Mediation When Getting a Divorce
If you think you don’t need a divorce lawyer, litigator, or mediator to help you through the process of divorce, you are doing yourself a major disservice. Even if you and your spouse end things amicably, a divorce mediator can make all the difference in how your divorce proceeds — especially if this is your first time around.
You want to look for a mediator or a divorce lawyer as early on as possible. They can help you prepare your paperwork, and arm you with a sense of strength and preparation from what could be coming from your spouses’ end.
If you’re not too sure where to find a good lawyer, ask friends or family members who have gone through a divorce for their recommendations. Nothing beats good word-of-mouth. And always hire a lawyer/ mediator that specializes in family law.
2. Do Some Homework and Gather Financial Records
Before you delve into the divorce process, you want to take some time to understand the financial standing between you and your spouse. As well as your own personal financial status. This includes coming to terms with what you have accumulated during your marriage in terms of income, debts, and assets.
You want to get your paperwork together, including bank statements, mortgage statements, loan documents, tax return documents, investment account updates, etc. Keep an eye out for any unusual account activity once your divorce proceedings kick-off, i.e. money disappearing from accounts, expensive expenditures, etc.
3. Keep Track of Your Own Expenses (and Your Spouses’)
Now is the time to start taking note of what you actually spend on a day-to-day basis. You want to keep a close eye on everything, i.e. grocery bills, fuel costs, daycare expenses, child care expenses, your own personal hobbies, etc.
Keep track of your receipts for at least three months and record your spending by category into an Excel spreadsheet. The reason why this is essential? So that you have a clear idea of what you need to live on if you intend to request any form of support — whether it’s temporary or long-term.
In addition to your own expenses, you want to keep track of your spouse’s spending too, where possible. As mentioned, take note if they start spending frivolously, open new accounts, take a new loan, etc. At the end of the day, this information can help you when seeking out spousal support.
4. Everything Is Divisible, Even if It’s in Your Name
One of the most common mistakes or misconceptions that people have when getting a divorce is that their assets are fully protected by their name. But the reality is that this not the case. Most of the time, all assets are divisible in some way, and this also includes liabilities such as debt and credit cards.
So, what does this mean for you as a spouse? Basically, your partner may be entitled to most of your assets, even things like royalties and frequent flier air miles. And on the flip side, you could also find yourself liable for any of the debt your partner owes — or vice versa.
5. Reconsider Your Proxys
Most of the time, we tend to name our spouses as a proxy for signing important documents with regards to wills, major financial decisions, and even life and death situations.
But once you file for divorce, you may not want to leave this type of power or responsibility in the hands of your spouse. So, before your divorce process becomes too complicated, re-think your proxy decisions and have them changed where applicable.
6. Don’t Overlook the Power of Saving
You are never guaranteed spousal support. And sometimes, the spousal support you’re offered may not be what you expected. In short, you never know how a divorce could turn out, so you want to start saving money as soon as you realize that your marriage is over.
You want to open up your own personal bank account (if you don’t already have one) and start saving some money where you can for divorce and future-related expenses. It doesn’t matter how much it is, but if you prepare early on enough, you could end up with a decent nest egg that could save your bacon when you need it most.
7. Assess Your Credit Score
If you’ve always shared your credit accounts with your spouse, you want to separate yourself from those accounts where you can. Do an analysis of the state of your credit scores — it’s time to get real with how good or bad they could be.
If you need professional help in restoring your own credit score, now is the time to opt for this type of advice. If possible, open up a credit card in your own name and begin working on improving your credit.
8. Be Aware of Your Social Media Presence
Nowadays, everything you post on the internet is there to stay forever. While social media sites can be wonderful for connection, they’re also dangerous for collating information — especially in divorce proceedings.
Be wary of what you post online regarding your spouse, their attorney, the process of your divorce, your financial standing, your expenses, and your children.
9. Seek Out the Support You Need
Going through a divorce might be one of the toughest things you’ll ever endure, emotionally. This is also a time where your true friends show themselves, as well as the support of family members. However, not everyone you’re close to might understand your divorce or accept it.
If this is the case, it’s important to find your tribe, i.e. people that will be there for you and understand what you’re going through. This support type of support can make all the difference in surviving divorce and starting your new life.
A Plethora of Life Advice at Your Fingertips
No one envisions themselves getting a divorce when they get married. But relationships fail and that doesn’t mean you, yourself, have failed at life. It’s about picking up the pieces and moving forward the best way you can.
If you’re on the hunt for motivational life advice, check out this blog for more. We offer a range of articles on all things business, finance, home, lifestyle, travel — the list goes on!