How do I best plan and prepare for getting a divorce?

When you reach the decision to file for divorce, the path ahead is often diluted and overwhelming. However, once you know divorce is coming, you can do several things in advance to prepare yourself and make the coming months a lot easier on yourself and your family.

  1. Get your finances in order:

Everyone involved in a divorce suit is legally required to disclose all their financial information. Do yourself a favor and plan ahead for this before you file. Track down tax and insurance records and make lists of all your assets and liabilities. While you’re organizing these, make copies of everything to give to your lawyer, too. Whatever you do, don’t hide anything. You’re far better off presenting all your information upfront than dealing with the consequences when a judge finds out that you were dishonest.

  1.  Decide on housing arrangements:

Determining where everyone will live during a divorce can be a tricky process, especially if you have children involved and if you are worried about property division. As best you can, have a calm conversation with your spouse about who will be staying where and who will be paying for extra accommodations. If you do have kids, keep their emotional and physical needs at the forefront of your decisions, and try to avoid letting personal emotions get in the way. 

  1. Make a budget:

Once your finances are organized, and you’ve discussed housing with your spouse, immediately start on a budget for yourself. Things will be different with only one income in the mix, and it’s best to start planning for that as soon as possible. Don’t assume that you will receive spousal support (alimony) just because you make less than your spouse, either. Be realistic about what you can afford on your salary, and consider whether you need to get a new job to make ends meet. And if you do happen to be the spouse with the higher income, make sure your budget does include categories for child support and alimony until a judge says differently.

  1. Get ready to talk to your kids:

Telling your children about your divorce can be the hardest part of the process. The best thing you can do for them is to prepare for the conversation. If at all possible, show a united front for your kids. But if your spouse isn’t on board, make a point to tell your children in a calm, safe environment—not with your spouse yelling at you the whole time. During this conversation, it’s imperative that your children know that they are loved, that they are not the problem, and that they will not be forgotten during the divorce process. Be prepared to lay out your current plans for child custody, housing arrangements, and any school changes they’ll be facing. If you are the one who is moving out, make sure to talk to a child relocation attorney before making any plans. This gives them time to process the situation and removes some of the frightening unknowns from you mind.

  1. Plan for your future:

Life moves on after divorce. Planning for this future can be the ray of sunshine that gets you through the dark and frustrating days ahead. Start by making a list of all the things you want to accomplish in your new life. Set goals for yourself, break them down into smaller, achievable tasks, and reward yourself whenever you finish one. Additionally, start switching things up. If you and your spouse had a routine for eating out and hanging with friends, try something new. You’ll discover new places that make you happy and even make new friends along the way.

You can start working on this list before you’ve filed for divorce, but you should be sure to accomplish all of these at some point during the process. If you can do everything before the divorce meetings even start, it can help you approach the entire process with a calm mind and clear emotions. Whatever you do, be sure to plan carefully, realistically, and optimistically for what’s ahead.

If you are ready to move forward with filing your divorce or would like to have an attorney evaluate your current plan for divorce, the lawyers at Duncan Family Law are prepared to guide you through the process. Our office can be reached at (855) 369-9993. You may schedule a free consultation, immediately, to meet with an attorney by telephone, Zoom, FaceTime, or other remote means during this time.