Going through a divorce or legal separation is not only complicated – but can be emotionally overwhelming as well. If you’ve made the decision that a divorce is in your future, then you’re probably wondering what the first steps will be in order to make this process run as smoothly and amicably as you possibly can.
Knowing what steps to take up-front can make everything easier, more peaceful, fair and drama-free. Here are a few things you can do to get off on the right foot as best as you can. Let’s jump right in.
Choose a more peaceful divorce option
Divorce, believe it or not – is not a singular court proceeding. In fact, there are lots of options out there as to how you get divorced. Some are collaborative, some are more combative. You can battle it out in court or you can pay multiple people to intervene in the process. A third option allows for simple mediation. Do your homework and make sure you’re aware of all the options that are available to you and choose the one that’s going to be most conducive to leading to a peaceful divorce.
The number of important decisions you’ll have to make during a divorce can get quickly overwhelming. The more organized you (and your ex) are; the better negotiations will go. You’ll want to gather everything you’ve got from brokerage account statements, bank accounts statements, pay stubs, tax returns, credit card statements, insurance, retirement, mortgage docs, loan documents and the like. Create a budget so you can get an understanding of what the both of you pay for and what expenses will look like once you’re divorced.
Remember this isn’t negotiating anything – this is putting everything on the table for you both to review when it comes time for negotiations.
Once you’ve made the decision to get divorced, it’s going to happen. You have to face it. Pulling the covers over your head won’t make it go away. Don’t be passive in the process. Take control of the process, listen to your representation and be prepared to make your own decisions. Be active, be hands-on and you’ll find that the process will be much easier to get through.
Divorcees almost always feel alone and on an island, but they’re not. There’s plenty of professional support out there, but you’ll also need to be sure that you’re taking care of yourself emotionally as well. Reach out to friends, lean on family and let your feelings out.
Maintain your integrity
No matter how angry you might be with your spouse or how much they might try to push your buttons, keep your head clear. Don’t vent on social media. Don’t badmouth your spouse to your kids. Rise above, bite your tongue, and be the bigger person. It might be hard to see in the short term – but stress and negative energy can cost you enormously in terms of your health. This divorce is a part of your life, not your entire life and it’s important to keep a clear head so that it doesn’t ruin the rest of your life. Be kind to yourself and refuse to allow yourself to be a victim of circumstance.
Always be mindful of the big picture
Like we said above – this is one stop on a larger journey. A painful, difficult stop for sure; but just a stop. The decisions you make need to have the rest of your journey in mind. They’ll affect both you and your children for years to come. Don’t bog yourself down in semantics and worry about being right all the time. No one ever ‘wins’ a divorce. But if you focus on what matters most and lay the groundwork for a successful future, it’ll be much easier to deal with your painful past and be a better person for it in the future.
Good luck and as always, we’re here to lend a helping hand. If you’re considering a divorce or separation, give us a call today and we’ll be happy to provide you with a free consultation. Good luck!