Divorce is always a huge blow, no matter if you were expecting it or not. Even if both parties believe it’s the best thing to do, there will still be difficult moments and periods. It will be a significant financial stretch for you and you’ll experience mental exhaustion.
There are still methods to follow that will ease this unpleasant process.
1. Keep track of your expenses
From the moment you realize the divorce is inevitable, start paying attention to your expenses and incomes. This will help you pile up the budget for the post-divorce period. It will also make things clearer for your attorney and the judge when the time comes to split assets and debts but also when the choice falls between child support and award spousal.
The soon you start, the better – check your credit bank statements from the past year and focus on every aspect, including household bills, clothing, food, etc.
2. Avoid big financial decisions
You may be tempted to adjust your life insurance beneficiaries but hold your horses for the time being. Things like retirement accounts and wills will be sorted out by the judge. So, don’t make any changes before the divorce proceedings – your spouse could be awarded everything in that case.
If you have already filed for divorce, making changes on your own could be seen as a criminal act. Your attorney should give you advice on your every move.
3. Start gathering necessary documentation
Once you decide the divorce is going to happen, start gathering the documentation you’ll need for the proceedings. It’s pretty time-consuming, so it’s best if you know what exactly you’ll need to get a hold of. Be aware that in case you and your spouse have any mutual accounts, those institutions are under no obligation to keep your request confidential.
The best method is to start with all savings accounts and checking statements, as well as investment account and credit card statements, spanning from the whole past year.
Get your current retirement account statements, too, as well as income tax returns from the past 3 years.
Lastly, make a list of all debts and assets you have brought into the marriage and those you have accumulated during the marriage.
4. Ask for professional help
Don’t think that hiring a lawyer will be seen as an act of aggression. Professionals like Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers help spouses with sorting out their finances and easing the negotiation process. The right attorney will prevent you from being the damaged party in the divorce and help you avoid the usual traps.
You could also consider talking to a certified divorce financial analyst who will present you the effect of divorce on your financial health. These specialists can also help if you are only one considering divorce – they’ll help you determine if it’s financially feasible. They are equally useful for those with considerate wealth and those with a modest budget.
5. Go easy on the spending
It’s tricky to separate joint finances – some state laws treat all sorts of incomes and debts as being mutual, while others make a clear difference. If you go too far with spending from that pile, it could be detrimental for your personal budget after the divorce is final. You won’t be in an advantageous position if you you’re the first one in the bank. It’s much wiser to be very open with your spouse about every expense you’re planning. Leave your cards open when it comes to financial matters. Continue spending as usual, whether you have individual or joint accounts.
If you don’t have money on the side that you could spend on an attorney, then turn to your spouse. Make an agreement that both of you will spend a conservative and equal amount of money on hiring attorneys. In case it’s not going to be an amicable divorce, ask your attorney about the benefits of a legal separation. This act would monitor the way you both spend the money during the legal proceedings.
During the divorce, you mustn’t neglect your mental health. A divorce is a big emotional change, so you need to keep your wits about you when it comes to your emotional stability.
6. Have some me-time
You will probably try to keep your mind busy when the process starts, trying to bury your feelings. However, it’s important to take care of yourself just as you take care of others. You need to have at least 10 minutes every day for yourself – cry if you feel like it, be angry or simply be silent and breathe deeply. This will help you keep your head straight and decompress.
7. Let go of regrets
From time to time, you’ll probably be tormented with those “What if..” thoughts. You will be reminding yourself of some crucial moments and thinking whether you could have done some things differently. It is completely normal, especially in the earliest period but you will have to resist them as time passes. There is a moment where you need to realize things happened the only way they could, despite your best efforts. You need to be positive about your future and believe you did the best you could. Stop regretting and focus on what’s to come. The divorce is not the end – it is only the end of a chapter.
The process of divorce will go much more smoothly if you think about every step you make. It’s also important to get a consultation and hire professionals from the moment you both decide the divorce is the right choice. This isn’t a one-person responsibility. Don’t rush any decision and always have a professional back-up before you make a move. It will also ensure both you and your spouse feel safe. It’s much easier to finalize things if both parties feel that their rights have been respected.