Most people, on their wedding day, don’t anticipate that this joyous occasion might end unhappily. But the reality is that between 40% to 50% of married couples eventually do end up filing for divorce. It’s an emotional time and there are a lot of feelings to process, along with legal and financial fallout. This can be amplified if you have children. But one of the best ways to deal with divorce is to educate yourself and prepare as best as you can for your future. Below are some ways to cope with an impending divorce.
Keep Your Distance
One of the worst ways to deal with divorce is trying to contact your spouse directly after you split up. This is especially important at the beginning. If your estranged partner is trying to call, text, or email you directly, it’s best not to pick up. This might sound simple, but it can be hard to resist the urge to deliver some parting shots or even attempt reconciliation. It’s best to let your attorney deliver any messages, especially if relations are strained.
Look Out For Your Finances
Divorce can lead to difficult emotions, but it also is likely to cause financial hardships as well. If it’s possible, be sure to take a good look at how much money you have and keep track of your spending so you’ll have an idea of how much you’ll need to make to cover regular expenses when you’re on your own. Work on saving up funds before officially filing for divorce, if you’re able to do so. Create a budget for yourself so that you can decide what you’ll need to pay for utilities and essential expenditures. This process can also help you determine what you’re paying for that isn’t necessary, such as those bi-weekly grooming visits or your monthly streaming service. This is an opportunity to help you get creative with building up savings.
If you are seeking extra cash, you might consider visiting a jewelry pawn shop, especially if you have rings and watches that you don’t use. Getting some cash for jewelry can help you solve two problems — money flow and getting rid of things you don’t want. That’s one of the ways to deal with divorce and the financial stress that might result from it.
Make sure you don’t sell your wedding ring or band, however, as that would be considered an item you owned as a couple and will be tallied with other marital assets. There are other ways to make money that can help you save as you prepare to end the marriage. The gig economy is sort of made for situations like this. You can use your car to get a piece of the ride-sharing business, or even rent out your home before you might need to sell it if both you and your spouse have moved out. It’s also a good time to consider a “side hustle,” an idea you’ve always had for a business. Now is a good time to see if it would work out.
If you think you might be heading for a divorce, it’s a good idea to do any repairs or to squeeze in your annual dental visit or physical while you still have a joint bank account. And if your spouse was the breadwinner, by the way, another consideration you’ll need to make is how to pay for insurance on your own. That’s not just health insurance — you’ll need to consider how to handle auto and home coverage.Sometimes, items of value have a way of “disappearing” during the divorce process. So it’s a good idea to document all of your important possessions in advance, and also make sure to keep all the receipts you can find.
The laws around divorce differ depending on the state you’re in, so get familiar with what your state allows. For instance, some states require that you’ve established residency for a certain amount of time before you can even file for divorce. Some states don’t require an establishment of fault for the dissolution of marriage, meaning that the only thing that needs to be proven to pursue divorce is that the marriage is broken with no chance of repair. Still, other states do not allow people to file for separation as a preliminary step. States also differ on how marital assets are divided. So one of the wisest ways to deal with divorce is educating yourself on what is permissible so you can be prepared for the economic impact.
If you were in a situation where your spouse was primarily responsible for your finances, this might be an even more nerve-wracking time. If you haven’t before, it might be a good time to open a bank account in your name only. You might also consider getting a credit card that’s also solely in your name. If you’re concerned about your spouse finding out about your account and credit card, you can open a post office box. It’s easy to get one — you need a couple of forms of identification and to complete some paperwork. This way, you can have mail delivered to a secure location. It’s probably a good idea to also have any communication from your lawyer delivered to this place as well. Preparing to handle your own finances is one of the ways to deal with divorce that can leave you feeling empowered.
More than likely, you or your spouse will have to leave the home you share. If you’d been married for a long time, you’ve likely accumulated a lot of stuff. Investing in a roll off dumpster can be a convenient way to dispose of your trash. The company can drop off the dumpster and pick it up to make it easier for you.
Because divorce can be such a draining process, it’s best not to try to do everything on your own. This is especially true of the moving process because even under normal circumstances, no one likes to move. Choosing homes movers companies can alleviate some of the pressure during this difficult time.
You’ll also need help and good advice when it comes to finding a new place to live. There are many options such as renting apartments, buying a home, or even leasing residential property. And you’ll have a lot of factors to keep in mind, including keeping a residence near your child’s school for continuity of education and staying near your co-parent and other relatives who can provide support.
A good real estate agency will be staffed with Realtors who know exactly how to help you find the best place for you and it’s worth having that expert advice handy during what will likely be a tumultuous time.
Making Sure the Kids are All Right
When a couple makes the decision to divorce, sometimes issues around child custody can be an issue. It’s ideal to work out these issues in a peaceful way, but that’s not always possible. Hiring experienced and strong child custody lawyers is just one of the ways to deal with divorce that can help ensure that you get what’s best for your kids. It’s also likely that you’ll need to think about child care as well. If you have a job and now are living separately from your spouse, you might need to look for a day care center that you can trust.
Divorce can be a stressful time for children, too. It’s important to respect your spouse during this process and not to speak disparagingly about them in front of your kids. It’s also important to encourage them to talk to you about their feelings. Sometimes, children can feel as if they’re to blame for a split and you want to make sure to dismiss those sentiments as soon as possible. Children might also think that there’s something they can do to bring their parents back together. This is also a time when children might try to play parents against each other. That’s why you and your spouse will need to work together to makes sure that discipline and house rules are consistent.
There will need to be a lot of collaboration with your partner when it comes to the children. You’ll need to make decisions together on how to celebrate holidays and birthdays with the best interests of your kids in mind. It’s best to make yourself available as much as you can so they know that regardless of the changes around them, your love for them is consistent. Being present for your child during this time is among the ways to deal with divorce that can strengthen the parental bond in the end.
Taking Care of Yourself
One of the ways to deal with divorce and difficult emotions is by hiring a therapist. Marriage counselors are equipped to help you process your feelings and offer you advice about how to approach your new relationship with your soon-to-be former spouse. This can be difficult, especially if the impending divorce wasn’t your fault. You can also learn some strategies about how to re-establish your own personality. This can be difficult if you’re leaving a long-term marriage and you’re used to tying your identity with that of your spouse. A good therapist can also help you come up with the best way to talk to your children about the situation as well.
Your therapist might suggest that you write things down. Keeping a journal during this time can serve two purposes. It can help you unravel your complicated feelings and it can help you document key events, especially as you sense your marriage is unraveling. That documentation could come in handy as you go to the negotiation table.
While it’s not a good idea to spend a lot of money during this time, there are other, less expensive ways to practice self-care. Having coffee with supportive friends gives you an opportunity to surround yourself with people who will listen to you vent with no judgment.
Even a bubble bath can help you relax, even if it’s for a short time. You can also try meditation and yoga to bring down the stress levels. Whatever your approach, showing yourself kindness during this process will be instrumental throughout the divorce process.
Finding The Best Attorney
There are many considerations to be weighed when choosing a divorce lawyer. Of course, you want someone who is empathetic, reliable, and willing to stand up for your best interests.
Do your research to find a family law firm that can respond to your specific situation. A good attorney will know what you are entitled to and will be well-versed in communicating promptly with your spouse’s attorney.
You might need someone who specializes in contentious divorces, or who is equipped to deal with certain personalities. For example, if you’re divorcing a narcissist, it can be very difficult to make progress in your divorce. Their personality disorder means that they, unlike most other divorcing partners, are more likely to want to drag out court battles and make things as difficult as possible. They’re also charmers, and that can even work on a judge. There are lawyers who specialize in dealing with narcissists. And their job isn’t to try to prove your spouse’s narcissism — it’s to navigate it, to keep the train on the track. Also, if your case involves domestic abuse, you will need a lawyer experienced in those tough situations. One of the best ways to deal with divorce is to choose a lawyer wisely, one who can help you get what you need. Many law firms offer free consultations so you can get a feel for what to expect if you hire them.
No one ever wants to find themselves in a courtroom ending their marriage. But if it happens the ways to deal with divorce and its aftermath include educating yourself, self-care, protecting the well-being of your kids, looking out for your finances, and finding an attorney who can help you through this process. A divorce is not just an ending, but a beginning as well. This is a time to plan and think about how you want your future to look because you will be in control of it moving forward.