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Three tips to help prepare for divorce

If your marriage has reached the breaking point, you likely know that going through divorce can bring forth a variety of emotions.  Whether divorce comes as a surprise or after a long breakdown in the relationship, the emotional turmoil can seem overwhelming for many individuals. Of course, if your marriage is at the breaking point, you likely are well aware that emotions can peak during divorce.

Taking stock of your individual circumstances, evaluating your future goals, and preparing for the divorce process as early as possible can help you to move forward with a greater sense of confidence. Moreover, having a plan in place from the start can help to look through the cloud of emotions to make important decisions with better clarity. 

The transition from one household to two

Divorce involves a transition. Whether you have been married for five or 25 years, ending the marriage includes a major transition. Focusing on a brighter tomorrow can help to reduce the stress of going through the process. Three important things to consider in preparation for divorce include:

Your future finances: You have become accustomed to a lifestyle during marriage. After you separate from your spouse, one household budget generally becomes two. Getting a firm understanding of expenses, sources of income, and available assets will allow you to identify reasonable options for dividing property, calculating child support obligations and examining potential alimony issues. Look at your tax returns, the cost of your housing, and household expenses so you are familiar with your financial circumstances. Make copies of financial documents and expense records. Gathering this background information will go a long way toward helping you and your divorce lawyer set meaningful goals. 

Your children: Creating a workable parenting plan is often difficult for divorcing spouses. The loss of trust between parents can create animosity that makes negotiating custody issues and parenting plans complicated. Focusing on what works best for the kids can help you to overcome emotional barriers that can get in the way of resolving parenting disputes. As we discussed in June, children of parents who continue to communicate and co-parent after divorce are generally healthier and better grounded as compared to children whose parents retained a contentious stance founded on animosity.

Your emotions: Having clear goals in mind can help you to navigate the divorce process with more confidence. Realistic goals and a positive plan, however, are not a panacea to eliminate the emotions that are associated with divorce. Speaking with a therapist, a spiritual counselor, or a trusted friend can help you through the grieving process. Even having reasonable goals and a solid plan in place does not mean that your soon-to-be ex will follow the same process. Your divorce lawyer can guide you through the legal process. However, with a strong support system in place, you can work through stress and get to a brighter future.