Though everyone hopes they will never have to endure a divorce, the fact is that there are over one million divorces in the U.S. every year. While each divorce is unique, drawing on others’ past experiences can ease the process. I’ve compiled some of the most commonly cited “insider tips” from those who have previously gone through a divorce. I hope these can help you deal with the emotional and financial issues you will face during your divorce.
Have an Open Relationship with Your Attorney
Your attorney isn’t there to judge you – he or she is there to get you the best resolution possible. You are only hurting yourself if you don’t share every detail, no matter how embarrassing it may be. I can assure you that your lawyer has heard worse. Similarly, your attorney should be just as open and honest with you. Don’t hesitate to ask questions and expect to receive an honest answer.
Focus on the Long Term, Rather Than the Short Term
Because your current life is likely going to become at least partly uprooted during a divorce, it’s not uncommon to develop a one-track mind toward a goal. You may be focused on seeking revenge on your ex-spouse or committed to receiving the house in the resolution.
Looking ahead to what you want to accomplish in five years, rather than your goals right now, will help you become more successful financially and in managing your relationship with your ex-spouse. For the sake of your children and your sanity, you will probably want to remain at least amicable with your ex-spouse. Keeping the home long term may not be the best thing for your finances because of size, maintenance, and expense.
Write down where you see yourself in the next few years so you can refer back to it when times get tough and emotions may run high. A smart lawyer should foster this type of planning, rather than just focusing on more intermediate goals.
Gather Your Finances Early
As it’s not uncommon for spouses to try and conceal finances, don’t wait until you’re served divorce papers to take stock of your finances. The sooner you can gather information on your bank accounts, credit cards, investments, and retirement accounts, the sooner your attorney can assist you in protecting them. You’re entitled to a fair division of the assets accumulated during the marriage and securing financial information ahead of time will help you accomplish that result.
Manage Your Expectations
Managing your expectations is critical for most aspects of life, but especially during a divorce. False expectations about getting back together with your spouse or about a certain resolution can leave you struggling financially and emotionally at the end of the process. Your lawyer should assist you in managing your expectations so you come out on the other side pleased and ready for the next chapter of your life.