Want a divorce this New Year? You’re not alone. Divorce lawyers regularly report seeing a significant uptick in inquiries and filings in January – sometimes as much as 25-30%. The surge makes sense as many people don’t want to put a damper on the holiday season by filing for divorce in December and feel motivated by the fresh start that a new year offers. It’s a tough decision, to be sure, but if divorce is in your thoughts, here’s how you should prepare.
If You Want a Divorce, Ask Yourself if You’re Ready
Coming out of the bubble of the holidays can feel like getting doused with freezing water. Suddenly, we have to deal with all the real-life issues that we put on hold, including serious marital problems. But before you rush to a divorce lawyer, take a moment to consider whether you are genuinely ready to go down this road. Consider questions such as:
- Have I voiced my concerns about our marriage to my spouse? Have we really tried to work on our problems?
- Am I threatening divorce out of frustration, spite, anger, or as a warning?
- Would I honestly be happier without my spouse?
- What would my life look like without my spouse?
- Am I ready to handle the negative consequence of divorce?
- Do I still have feelings for my spouse?
Divorce may seem like a tempting solution until you really consider all the changes that it will bring to your life. Trying to resolve your marital problems might feel more challenging in the short term, but it might be the right decision for your life in the long term.
Collect Relevant Paperwork
Suppose you decide that divorce is definitely the right path for you. In that case, it’s a smart idea to begin gathering the documents and financial information you’ll need to determine the marital assets. Such papers will likely include pay stubs, credit card bills, tax returns, real estate deeds, bank and mortgage statements, loan documents, and more. Make copies of these documents and store them in a secure place as soon as possible.
Put your fresh new calendar to use by setting specific divorce-related deadlines to remain focused and keep the process moving forward. For example, you might set January 31st as a target date to collect all of your financial paperwork, February 15th as the deadline for finding a divorce lawyer or accountant, and so forth. Once you hire a lawyer, she or he can help you create a detailed and realistic timeline and plan.
Find the Support You Need
Divorce is a tough journey, but having a robust support system will help smooth the way. For professional support, find and hire a trustworthy divorce lawyer to guide you through the legal process or seek a good mediator. You may also need a financial planner or accountant to help you understand your current financial situation, determine how divorce will impact your finances, and envision how you’ll support your family and lifestyle in the future.
Having good emotional support is every bit as important in this process. Share your feelings with family or friends, or join a local or online divorce support group. If your feelings are becoming overwhelming, don’t hesitate to contact a therapist specializing in divorce. The critical thing to remember is that you do not – and should not – have to go through this alone. The more peace you have in your divorce process, the easier it will be to thrive in your new life.