Whether the papers have just been signed or several months have passed, you may be wondering how to recover from divorce. Divorce is one of the most difficult things to go through and you may be feeling a mixtu...
How to Prepare for DivorceAugust 20, 2019 - Relationship Articles
How to prepare for divorce:
- Discuss the divorce with your ex-partner
- Practical steps
- Pick a divorce method
- Create a support system
- Map out your finances
Discuss the divorce with your ex-partner
The first step in a divorce is of course to inform your partner of your decision. Breaking the news that you would like a legal separation can be fraught with emotions, such as anger, anxiety, sadness or guilt. It is all too easy to vent your frustrations to your soon-to-be ex when you tell them that you want a divorce. However, doing so might make you say something you later regret and create a tense atmosphere that may persist throughout the divorce. It is always important to be calm and composed when having important conversations such as these. Be sure to write down everything that you are feeling as well as what you want to discuss to allow for a civil and productive conversation.
You will eventually want to discuss and ideally agree on:
- How you would like to manage the divorce
- How and when you will tell family and friends
- Who will keep which assets (house, car etc)
- Custody of any children or pets
There are some early stage practical steps to take that will help in the long run. These include:
- Open a P.O. Box: Should you feel that you would not want your ex partner intercepting your mail, having your own P.O. box for important legal and personal mail to be sent to can help.
- Open a Bank Account: If you have always shared a bank account, now may be the time to set up your own. If you have questions about finances during and after a divorce, do be sure to consult a professional.
- Gather Documents: Gather and make copies of important financial documents such as tax returns, mortgage claims and bank statements from the past several years as you may need these during the divorce process.
- Assess your Assets: Determine what assets were yours before your marriage such as property, inheritance and pension plans.
Pick a divorce method
How to prepare for divorce will also depend on the divorce method you choose. The divorce method you opt for will affect the money and time that goes into your divorce. Every divorce is different so it is important to familiarise yourself with the most popular divorce methods and decide which is the best fit for you:
- DIY Divorce: With a do-it-yourself divorce all you need to do is purchase a divorce kit that includes all the forms needed to file for a divorce. This method is best suited for uncontested divorces and can be a low cost solution.
- Divorce through Litigation: In this traditional divorce method, you and your ex partner will hire lawyers to represent yourselves in court and argue your case on issues such as who has custody of your children or the ownership of property. Complicated divorces with uncooperative parties can last years.
- Divorce through Mediation: Mediation is a non-adversarial divorce process where a neutral 3rd party who is skilled in de-escalating conflicts is hired to help both parties negotiate their issues and come to an agreement.
- Collaborative Divorce: This divorce method combines elements of divorce by litigation and mediation. You and you ex partner will hire lawyers trained in cooperative techniques, as well as well other divorce processionals if desired, to represent you and discuss pre-set agendas.
- Divorce through Arbitration: Rather than having a judge decide the outcome of your case, you and your ex partner can hire an arbitrator who will help resolve your issues. Arbitration is less formal than court and more private.
Create a support system
Divorce can bring up an array of emotions both before and during. For some it can be a challenging and isolating experience. Having a support system in place will help you cope and process with the difficulties of divorce. Your support system may include:
- Support Groups: You are not alone in going through a divorce. In fact, it is estimated that over 40% of marriages in the UK end in divorce. In-person and online support groups are a great resource allowing you to connect with other people in your situation or those who have already gone through their own divorces.
- Divorce Lawyer: Even if you do not want to have your divorce processed in court, you may want to meet with a divorce lawyer to review your documents and legal options. Costs for a divorce lawyer will vary, so be sure to ascertain this before scheduling a meeting.
- Divorce Coach: A divorced coach is a licensed mental health professional who helps you define your goals and develop an action plan for your divorce. Especially if this is your first divorce, having a dedicated divorce coach can help guide you through the process.
- Divorce Financial Professional: Divorce finance professionals will help you with all financial aspects of your divorce and its long-term effects, such as alimony, taxes and pension plans. If you have financial questions, it is definitely recommended to consult a professional.
- Divorce Therapist: Divorce therapists provide a non-judgemental environment where you can work through your feelings as you transition into your new life.
Map out your finances
It is no surprise that divorce is expensive, the average cost of divorce in the UK is about £15,000. Take some time to examine your income and expenses.
Make a list of your current expenses and project future expenses you may have, such as buying a car, securing a new home and legal fees. The exact amount you spend on your divorce depends on the complexity of your case, divorce method used, professionals hired and length of the divorce process.
Do you make enough money to cover these expenses? If not, you will need to consider where you can cut back financially and what you can do to cover your expenses.
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