There are many significant issues to consider during a divorce, such as who gets the house, custody agreements and financial arrangements. However, there are also some more subtle challenges that you might not think about until the divorce is final and you return to life on your own. Here are five important but often-overlooked issues to consider. Thinking and making decisions about them sooner rather than later should ease the adjustment to your post-divorce.
5 Key Issues to Consider During a Divorce
1. The Heavy Lifting
The first challenge will probably reveal itself during your move to a new home, though it generally impacts women more than men. After the movers deliver your furniture and a seemingly endless array of boxes, you breathe a sigh of relief, thinking that the heavy lifting is over. However, those boxes sometimes end up in the wrong room, and the sofa doesn’t look as good on that side of the room as you thought it would. No problem, you think, until you realize you can’t move it yourself. Friends and family can help you with this, but just be aware you might have to work on their schedule sometimes.
2. The Yard Work
Some couples do the yard work together, and in other households, one person does the majority of it. If you find yourself in a new house without a lawn mower or garden tools, you’ll have to decide what to do about these tasks. At a minimum, someone will have to mow the lawn regularly. You could buy the equipment, but what if you have no interest in maintaining the property yourself? The most natural solution is to hire someone to do it. A web search will provide a list of mowing services near you, as well as landscapers, tree trimmers and people who can explain your underground sprinkler system.
3. The Administrative Tasks
In every household, someone has to handle administrative tasks, such as paying the bills, preparing the taxes, renewing service contracts and paying fees to the homeowners association. If you have children in school, there will be frequent correspondence regarding class activities, sports and other academic matters. One of you will likely find yourself responsible for handling some of these things for the first time, so be willing to answer questions about your areas of expertise, and hopefully, your ex will return the favor.
4. The Health Records
If you don’t know the name of your children’s pediatrician, it doesn’t make you a bad parent; it just means you’re not the one who typically handles their doctor’s appointments. Make a point of gathering this contact information advance, so that it will be available quickly if needed. Find out about food or drug allergies, as well, and know what to do in an emergency.
5. The Contractors
As is true of most of these things, one spouse probably has more responsibility than the other for managing contractors. If that isn’t you, it might be frustrating to look at the plumber’s estimate and not have any idea about whether or not the price is reasonable. Just as with lifting heavy objects, friends and neighbors can help with this, but if you’re in a new area on your own, consider hiring a handyman. Chances are, he will be able to take care of many of the household repairs without requiring an outside contractor. If you do need to hire one, your handyman will be familiar with reputable professionals in the area and will be able to give you an idea of what the work should cost.
Going through a divorce is difficult, without question, and adjusting to a new home or strange city can make you feel a bit lost at times. The chances are good that you’ll be handling some things you didn’t have to worry about before. Don’t despair, however. There are people out there who can help and advise you. Start with your neighborhood online community, and ask for recommendations for service providers in your area. It’s also a great way to get to know your neighbors.