It’s no secret that over 50% of marriages end in divorce, even more if you’re in your 2nd or 3rd marriage. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing depends on your perspective. I’m a believer that life is short and everyone is entitled to their happiness. My guess is that if you’re not happy in your marriage, your spouse isn’t either.
If you’re thinking about ending your marriage there a few steps you need to take before you initiate your divorce. These will help to ensure the best outcome for you should you decide to move forward. This is not a decision to be taken lightly and a little preparation can go a long way. The reality is that you now have to stop thinking emotionally and start thinking financially.
#1 Get Real and Start Planning
Divorce may be the toughest this you’ll ever do. Believe me, I know. Right now all you may be thinking about is how miserable you are and that you have to get out. Before you pull the plug though, take a deep breath. Then start planning so that you (and your children) have the best foundation for a happier future.
Start by assessing your current lifestyle and what you’d be able to afford on your own. What’s your current budget and spending? How much will it cost you to live on your own? How much more will you need to get by? Will this come from child support, alimony, a new job? If child support or alimony, best get some help figuring out how much that will be. If you need a new job, will that require more schooling or training? Do you want to keep the marital home? If so, can you refinance it in order to keep it? Can you really afford it? Too often this is an overly emotional decision. Will the kids really be happier in their current house if you’re struggling to pay the mortgage and utility bills?
Finally, what do you want your life to look like in five, ten, twenty years? What other situations in your life have you encountered where you had to call on your best qualities to succeed? Which qualities will you need now to get you where you want to go? How will you define a “successful divorce”? How will you take care of yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually over the next difficult months to ensure that success?
# 2 Get Divorce Support
Now that you’ve taken stock and assessed what you’ll need. What kind of support will you need? A good therapist for emotional strength? A Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA®) or a CDFA®-Mediator to help you plan financially and for what a realistic settlement will look like? A divorce coach to help with all the decisions you’ll need to make along the way? A lawyer if you think litigation is inevitable?
A piece of advice, your first phone call should not be a lawyer! Assess your alternatives and ask for support where applicable but don’t assume you’ll need a lawyer for your divorce.
#3 Protect Yourself Financially
You will need to prepare for divorce and set some things up financially before your spouse is aware that you want a divorce or has reason to make life difficult for you. Start by opening your own checking and savings accounts and make sure there’s enough in them to get you by for two or three months. Get your credit report and start monitoring it periodically. Apply for a credit card or two in your own name. Last, consider you will, as well as beneficiaries on investment accounts and insurance policies. You should make appropriate chances in case something happens to you.
The divorce process can be scary and overwhelming. Starting with a plan and professionals that you trust to guide you through the process can be key in making sure you’re ready for you future. If you’re thinking about divorce schedule your complimentary divorce strategy session where we’ll explore your options and connect you with any resources you might need.