This is a sponsored guest post.
Going through a divorce isn’t anything like going through an ordinary separation. While both situations can be emotionally debilitating, ending a marriage is much more serious and can leave you with more than a broken heart. You can’t just slam the door behind you and leave like you would do if you were simply breaking up with your boyfriend. A divorce comes with legal implications that you can’t ignore and if you’ve never been in this position before, you’ll have to learn how to navigate the whole process.
It’s not easy to think about technicalities and focus on practical aspects like contacting a lawyer or evaluating your finances when you’re still trying to pull yourself together, but you can’t avoid them either. Besides, the faster you’ll take care of these mundane matters, the sooner you’ll be able to move on and start building a new life for yourself. Knowing exactly what to expect will help you handle the situation better and save you some unwanted trouble along the way. Here are the steps you should consider before you file for divorce.
Consider marriage counseling
Even if you’re 100% sure there’s no way to save your marriage and divorce is your only option, talking to a marriage counselor can still help you a lot. Marriage counseling isn’t only about trying to fix a broken marriage, but it’s also about helping you cope with the emotions and the stress that come with separation. Feeling confused and overwhelmed is normal, but you don’t have to deal with everything on your own. Counseling can be a great support mechanism and it can make the difference between a messy divorce and a civilized separation.
Contact a good divorce lawyer
The next step and probably the most obvious one is to find the best divorce lawyer. While in an ideal scenario you would be able to settle everything with your partner in an amicable manner, things don’t always happen like that. That’s why you need to get in touch with a good divorce lawyer that can support you through the process and make it run much smoother. A lawyer will be able to give you valuable advice and explain all legal proceedings. You should choose a lawyer who specializes in family law and has extensive experience in the field. Don’t settle for the first lawyer you find. Interview several before deciding whom to hire and go with the one you’re more comfortable with.
Evaluate your finances
If you’re not good with numbers and financial details, you’ll need to make an effort and put your finances in order. It’s important to have a clear understanding of your financial situation before proceeding with a divorce filing. You’ll want to make a list with all the incomes, assets and debts, in order to receive what you legally deserve during divorce negotiations. To determine who gets what, you should put on the list everything you have accumulated during marriage, from houses and vehicles to bank accounts, inheritances and other assets. Don’t forget to include debts in the equation. The money you owe will also be split between partners.
Manage joint accounts
If you and your husband have joint accounts, you should take care of your finances. There are cases in which one of the spouses takes all the money out and leaves the other with nothing. If you worry something similar might happen, you can prevent it by opening a separate bank account and transfer half the money from your joint account into it. This doesn’t have to be a secret move meant to upset your partner. It’s only a precautionary measure and you can talk to him about it openly. Just make sure you don’t spend the money around for no good reason and keep a record and documents with all the expenses you’ve made.
Prepare an after-divorce budget
Life as you know it will change drastically after divorce and that includes your financial life as well. You’ll have to do the math all over again, calculate your income, determine your expenses and see how these two aspects go together. You’re going to be on your own after the divorce is finalized and that means you’ll have to adapt your money habits to match your new lifestyle. It’s not unusual to go through financial difficulties after a divorce, so you’ll want to organize your budget in advance. Of course, you can’t predict every detail, but you can do a rough calculation of your expenses and figure out how your earnings will cover them. That way you’ll know for sure you’ll be able to pay for your monthly bills and other necessary expenditures.
Deciding to move out
You might want to pack your bags and move out of the house right away, but you shouldn’t be too hasty to make such a decision. Sometimes it’s better to wait until the divorce is over. If you leave, and your husband takes care of all the mortgage payments while divorce proceedings are underway, that might become a disadvantage when it comes to property division. But if you are determined to move out, you could agree to continue to share mortgage payment. Keep in mind that depending on the state, moving out can have consequences you might not be aware of. It can affect child support or you can be prohibited from returning home until divorce is final, so make sure you talk to your lawyer about it beforehand.
Choose the right attitude
Nobody really knows how to handle divorce and surely nobody expects to go through it when they get married. There’s no rule book about it. But if you want to make your life easier, you should maintain a civilized behavior and mind your attitude and decisions. Avoid doing things that could bring you disadvantages in court, especially if there’s a fight for custody involved. Now it’s time to reflect, reevaluate your options, rely on your loved ones for moral support and give yourself time to heal.