It’s that time of year again. Resolutions and new beginnings are at the forefront of everyone’s mind. The decision to get a divorce is one of the top New Year’s resolutions – hence the reason January is dubbed “divorce month.” Once the decision to leave a marriage is made, fear, guilt, and uncertainty begin to flood in, which results in indecision and questioning the decision to leave.
If your New Year is starting with getting a divorce, follow these four simple tips to help you gain clarity and confidence about your decision – whether you stay or leave. If your spouse is the one who wants the divorce, these steps are just as important for you.
It’s normal to question the effects of your decision as it relates to your children, your family, and your friends’ well-being. It’s important to remember you don’t have to figure it all out today. The only thing you need to do today is acknowledge how you feel about leaving your marriage. The only person who knows if this decision is right for you is YOU. Trust that when you acknowledge how you feel and you accept those feelings, you’ll be able to make the best decision for you. Once you are clear about your feelings and your decision, then you can explore what this decision will mean for your family.
One of the biggest reasons divorce is so difficult is we often feel left in the dark about where to start, what’s to come, and what life will look like and be like after divorce. It’s imperative to take the time to learn how divorce works, how divorce will impact you financially, and how it will affect your living situation. You should also think through best case/worst case scenario for your children so you can prepare. You might be asking where you can you go to find this information, the key steps, and how to prepare for what’s to come emotionally and financially.
Even if you decide to stay in your marriage, it’s important to have a sense of your financial standing. This is a great time to gather financial documents such as bank statements, credit card statements, year-end mortgage statements, and tax records from previous years. This is also a good time to do a credit check. Make copies of these documents and store them in a safe place.
Allow yourself to make a plan that can be revised and tweaked on a daily basis. You don’t have to figure it all out from beginning to end. Your plan may become very fluid as you become more informed and acclimated to what divorce may mean for you and your family. This allows you to take one step at a time and removes the fear and anxiety about what your life will look like after divorce if you do decide to leave your marriage. This will also allow you to interact with your entire divorce team (attorney/mediator/CDFA/etc.) empowered, informed, and engaged.
By having the right information about what steps to take, knowing what’s to come in divorce, and gaining clarity about your next steps, you’ll relieve a tremendous about of stress, anxiety, and overwhelm. Allow every day to be a part of your journey that may or may not result in divorce. Whether you decide to leave or stay, you’ll be clear about your feelings, about your finances, and about your next steps.