Preparing for Divorce: The Top 10 Tips You’ve Got to Know - Part 2
The more you prepare for your divorce, the more you increase your chances of getting the outcome you want. Plus, the more you prepare yourself for your divorce, the more time and money you are likely to save in the divorce process.
Last week we looked at 5 of the most important tips you will need to prepare for divorce as effectively as possible. Here are 5 more.
6. Assemble Your Team. No one should go through a divorce alone.
Trying to go through a divorce without the right help is like trying to win an Olympic gold medal without having coaches and trainers. You might be able to do it, but the odds are against you.
In a perfect world, your divorce team should include professionals to cover every aspect of divorce, including the legal, financial and emotional parts of divorce.
That means that you will be wise to work with a divorce mediator, a financial adviser, and a therapist. While that may sound expensive, there are ways to assemble a divorce team that won’t necessarily cost you a fortune.
Putting the right divorce team together takes time. If you can start interviewing and finding the right divorce professionals before you start your divorce, you will be prepared to move forward more quickly once your divorce is in process.
7. Explore Your Options. There are many different ways to resolve your divorce today, including through mediation, litigation, direct negotiation, arbitration, and Collaborative Divorce. The divorce process that you use can directly affect the outcome you get in your divorce.
But you have more options than just a choice of divorce process.
As long as you’re not relying on a judge to make your divorce decisions for you, you also have a lot of options about the WAY your divorce issues get handled.
For example, while most judges will order one spouse to pay the other child support, if you and your spouse can agree, there may be other ways to handle child support, especially if you share time with your kids on a fairly equal basis. The same thing is true about dividing your assets. Even if you and your spouse agree that you will split your assets on a percentage basis, WHICH assets each of you gets is a separate issue.
The bottom line is that divorce is full of choices. There isn’t just ONE way to do anything in divorce. Being prepared in your divorce includes KNOWING YOUR OPTIONS.
After all, unless you know what your choices are, you can’t possibly make good ones.
8. Set Realistic Goals. The most important question you should ask yourself when you’re starting your divorce is incredibly simple. Yet, most divorcing people don’t ask it of themselves. Ever.
That’s because answering this question isn’t as easy as it seems.
The problem is that unless you ask yourself this question at the beginning of your divorce, you’re probably going to be dissatisfied with the result you get at the end of your divorce.
So what is this all-important question?
What do I want?
If you don’t clearly know what you want in your divorce, your chances of getting it are incredibly slim.
Of course, just asking yourself “What do I want” isn’t the only thing you have to do. There’s a catch. (Of course, you knew there had to be one, right?)
You can’t want everything!
You need to identify the ONE, or maybe TWO, most important goals in your divorce.
Why can you only have one or two goals?
… because having too many goals is like having no goals. You can’t focus on everything at once. Knowing what you want means being crystal clear on what matters the most to you in your divorce.
Finally, in order to achieve your goal(s), they must be legally and financially possible. You can want your spouse to pay you $1,000,000 in your divorce. But if the total amount of your marital assets is only $100, thinking you’ll $1,000,000 is simply not realistic).
9. Minimize the Damage to Your Kids. If you have children, one of your top priorities is probably to make sure that your divorce doesn’t ruin their lives.
The key is to truly put your children first. While most parents intend to do exactly that, it’s easy to get so caught up in your own pain during a divorce that you don’t think about what your kids are going through as much as you otherwise might do.
So, a big part of preparing for divorce when you’re a parent means understanding what will happen to your kids in the divorce process, and then doing your best to minimize their pain. (And, btw, “kids” includes your adult children, too! Just because your children may be over 18 does not mean that they won’t be affected by your divorce!)
The kinds of things you’ll have to consider include:
Breaking the news of your divorce to your kids in the most empathetic way possible;
Supporting your kids’ emotionally as they try to navigate all the changes in their lives;
Reassuring your kids that, no matter what, you love them and that your divorce was NOT their fault;
Supporting your kids financially;
Being honest with your kids about the ways that their lives will change after the divorce.
Whether you like it or not, your divorce WILL affect your children. You can’t control that. But what you CAN control is whether it affects them positively, negatively, or a little bit of both.
10. Make Peace With Your Divorce.
Getting a divorce is probably not what you thought you would ever be doing. It may go against everything you told yourself you believed in. It may crush your dreams of how your life was “supposed” to be, or what your future was going to look like.
Yet, divorce happens.
While most people associate the end of a marriage with failure, that isn’t always true. Ending an abusive marriage isn’t a failure. Ending a marriage in which you’re miserable also isn’t a failure. (At least, it’s not by my definition!)
What’s more, YOU are not your marriage. Even if – by your own definition – your marriage failed, that doesn’t make YOU a failure. It just makes you human.
Coming to terms with your divorce, and the whole host of emotions that go along with it, takes time. It takes work.
It also takes a lot of patience and kindness toward yourself.
Yet, if you’re willing to put in the work and be patient with yourself, you WILL get through it. You WILL find peace, and with it, a whole new life.