No one goes into a marriage planning to divorce, but the day may come when you and your spouse go your separate ways. Emotional issues, financial considerations and practical details can seem overwhelming when you are facing a split. These are eight tips collected from people who have gone through a divorce and come out the other side.
Divorce is an emotional rollercoaster. While family and friends may be helpful, an objective therapist can offer a third-party perspective that’s priceless.
Follow the money
As soon as possible, ask your lawyer to handle the process of obtaining financial disclosures. Early action will make the divorce go smoother, and turning the responsibility over to your attorney will free you from stress.
Tally assets and debts
Your divorce lawyer can give you meaningful legal advice only if you can provide information on your assets and debts. Make available to your attorney the value of your house and the amount of mortgage you owe, the Blue Book value of your cars and the balance left on your auto loans, student loan debts, and the amounts in your bank accounts and retirement funds.
Decide on an appropriate attorney
Not all divorces end up in litigation. Determine whether you think you are headed toward litigation before you start looking for a divorce lawyer. If you believe your divorce is headed to court, you’ll want an attorney who has a great track record for winning litigated cases.
Think before you act
Fire off an angry email to your spouse, and that message may easily end up forwarded to the inbox of a judge who will soon rule on custody for your children. Keeping emotions in check is difficult during a divorce, but don’t let hurt and angry feelings drive your decisions. You run the risk of consequences if you let emotions prompt you to impulsive action.
Learn the legal language
Ask your attorney plenty of questions about what legal language means to you in common terms, and make sure you understand the fine print before you sign anything. Learn the legal terminology so that you can put your understanding to use when you are weighing your lawyer’s advice.
Find positive ways to cope
Women who are going through a divorce are vulnerable to addiction, so avoid alcohol, drugs and other coping mechanisms that can add to your depression. Don’t jump into a new romance. Don’t give up on life. Look for positive things that will help you. Try therapy, exercise, meditation, journaling or a new hobby. Lean on friends and family.
Save all emails and all bills to a file on your computer. You’ll need backup to support your case if you go to court to seek restitution or damages.