Every couple experiences divorce differently, but understanding how the divorce process works and all of the options available to you will allow you make the best choices while keeping costs down. Keep reading to learn how to prepare for divorce and the steps to follow.
How To Prepare For Divorce?
- Understand how the divorce process works
- Hire a divorce professional
- Be proactive
- Consider your children
- Take care of yourself
- Get your finances in order
- Sell your engagement ring to myGemma
1. Learn How The Divorce Process Works
As you prepare for divorce, it is important to research all of your options thoroughly as divorce is final and you will be making significant decisions that will affect yours and your family’s life going forward. Although the legal process varies state by state, getting a basic understanding of the divorce process will help you feel less vulnerable.
Resources to better understand divorce and how to prepare for divorce:
- Online resources -Find Law has some great articles on how divorce works.
- Consult a lawyer - As divorce is complex process, people are generally more comfortable working with a professional who is well-versed in the field. Many people begin the divorce process by hiring a divorce lawyer and entering into litigation. However, there is no law that requires attorneys to be involved in your divorce.
- Consult a mediator - Another option is divorce by mediation which is a non-adversarial divorce process led by a professional mediator. Just like with a lawyer, a mediator can help resolve all issues pertaining to a divorce, such as the division of marital assets and child support, at a fraction of the cost. Mediators are skilled in deescalating conflicts and rebuilding trust. If a couple had communication issues during their marriage, a mediator can help them have an open exchange where all parties can respectfully express their needs and expectations.
2. Hire A Divorce Professional
If you decide to hire a divorce professional to guide you through your proceedings, they will help you prepare for divorce negotiations that will follow. There are a variety of divorce professionals who can help you, including:
- A Divorce Coach - A divorce coach is a licensed mental health professional who understands that divorce is more than a legal process. Divorce coaches utilize therapeutic skills to help their clients deal with the emotional challenges of divorce while creating a divorce action plan. Ensure that you have considered the option that works best for you and your divorce. All of your preparation will be key to having better quality negotiations and resulting settlement.
- Divorce Finance Professional - You will most likely have financial questions about your divorce. Whether it is about separation of assets or how to plan for the future, consulting a divorce financial professional will help you get answers to your questions.
- Divorce Therapist - It is important not to neglect your mental health and well being when going through such an important transition in your life. A divorce therapist can be an invaluable resource, helping you to better understand, process and heal from your divorce.
- Divorce Attorney - perhaps one of the most important and common of divorce professionals hired in a divorce, is a specialized lawyer. Divorce law is complex and hiring a lawyer will help you understand exactly what your rights are and what you are entitled to.
The point is that surrounding yourself by professionals who are well versed in divorce can help you better navigate your separation and feel more confident and in control.
3. Be Proactive
While divorce and filing for divorce can be a stressful time, staying active in the process is imperative. Take the time to set an intention for how you want the divorce process to last and what you want the outcome to be. This intention can serve as your guide throughout the divorce proceedings and can avoid prolonging the situation.
Documents to gather as you prepare for divorce:
- Necessary documents such as tax returns from the last three years, mortgage statements, credit reports and bank statements to help minimize any possible conflict or ambiguity.
- Take inventory of all of your assets including anything you owned before the marriage, gifts given specifically to you and inheritances. Anything else acquired during your marriage is typically considered marital property. By collecting evidence of your assets, you can claim what you have the rights to during the divorce process and can potentially remind you of any items that go missing or are forgotten.
4. Consider Your Children
If you and your spouse have children, they are an important aspect of divorce. This is also a difficult transition for children. You will need to determine how you will tell them about the divorce. Depending on their age they might need more help understanding what is happening.
How to tell your children about divorce:
- Find a quiet time over a weekend to sit your children and down and calmly discuss your separation. While it is important to explain the changes that will be taking place, be careful to find positives. Explain why your children need not worry or feel overly concerned.
- Allow your children to ask as many questions they need to in order to understand the changes coming in their family.
- Ensure that you take time to listen to any feelings of sadness, confusion and anger that your children might have to help them best cope with the situation.
- Regardless of your feelings towards your ex, you will need to put any negative feelings aside for your children’s well being. Insulting your former partner in front of your children can make them feel uncomfortable. They likely still love their other parent. If your ex wants to maintain an ongoing relationship with the children, you will need to be able to cooperate with each other. This will make the divorce and everyone’s lives after the divorce easier.
5. Take Care Of Yourself
Amidst all the commotion of divorce, you will need to remember to take care of yourself. While preparing materials for the divorce, meeting with divorce professionals, taking care of children on top of daily tasks, it is easy to forget self-care. Divorce can leave people feeling isolated and struggling with an array of emotions.
Steps to follow to take care of yourself during divorce:
- Reach out to loved ones for emotional support during this difficult time. Know someone who has gone through a divorce? Ask them for advice and what resources helped them, such as a book or support group. There are many online communities you can join to speak with others in your situation.
- Ensure that you are giving yourself the opportunity to tend to your physical and mental needs. Such as eating regularly, sleeping well and surrounding yourself with positive people.
- You can also meet with a licensed therapist who can provide you with tailored resources. By regaining control of your emotions, you can feel calmer and better prepared for divorce negotiations.
- Stay off of social media if is having a negative impact on your mental health.
6. Get Your Finances In Order
According to Wilkinson & Finkbeiner Family Law Attorneys the average cost of a divorce in the United States is $15,000. By getting your finances in order you can save yourself from any unnecessary expenses. You will also be prepared for your life after divorce. Meet with a Certified Financial Planner trained in divorce related financial issues (such as dividing property, child support and tax solutions).
Before starting your divorce ask yourself the following:
- How much will my divorce cost? How much you spend on your divorce will be determined by how you will proceed with the divorce and what professionals you hire.
- What will my new life cost? List all of your expenses so you can get an understanding of your shared living expenses. This will determine what your future divorce expenses will look like.
- Do I want to stay in my current home? You might want to stay in your current home for the sake of your children or because of the money you put into it. You will need to determine if you can pay utility bills and maintenance fees on top of your other expenses.
- Do I have my financial records in order? Gather all of your financial records, ideally from the past five years. Such as bank statements, credit card statements, credit score, joint accounts, tax returns, checking and savings accounts and retirement accounts.
- Am I earning enough income? You will need to make sure that you can afford paying for divorce expenses. Not to mention maintaining your life after the divorce. Start putting money aside and prepare to look for a new job if needed.
- How can I protect my money? Consult a professional to determine which steps you can take.
- How can I save more money? Ensure that you reduce unnecessary expenditures and assess any debts. Aim to tackle them before they inflate with interest. Sell anything you no longer need to earn funds on sites like EBay and Craigslist. For items such as your engagement ring that reminds you of your relationship? Always sell them to a reputable, specialist buyer such as myGemma.
7. Sell Your Engagement Ring To myGemma
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