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How to Prepare for a Divorce

Many people dream of grand weddings where they start their lives together with “that perfect someone.” They envision growing old together, celebrating successes, and having that “fairytale romance” inspired by Disney and reinforced in countless books, television shows, and movies.

As you’ve probably discovered, though, marriage is not always destined for “happily ever after.” In fact, the divorce statistics across the U.S. are daunting at best. About 50% of married couples who have not been previously married end up in divorce.

For those who have been married before, the prospects are even more challenging. For second marriages, the average divorce rate is 60%. A staggering 73% of all third marriages end in divorce.

For all of this doom and gloom, though, there is a positive side. If you have decided that divorce is the only path to a life that is more aligned with what you want for your future, there are steps you can take to effectively prepare for your divorce.

Preparation makes a major difference in how well people hold up while going through a divorce, as well as how well they manage their post-divorce lives. Careful preparation also helps ensure that children and others affected by the divorce are not negatively impacted by the change.

Integrating these simple steps can help minimize the financial, emotional, and health impact of your divorce, ensuring that you have the confidence, energy, and resources to thrive in your new, post-divorce life:

1. Find a Good Divorce Attorney

Couples who finally acknowledge that their marriages have fallen apart often want to avoid the expense of hiring attorneys, figuring that they can come to agreements on issues like finances, child custody, and asset ownership on their own.

Unfortunately, this comes after months or years of not being able to agree on things; otherwise, the divorce wouldn’t be happening in the first place. Add to that the complexity of divorce laws in the United States, and getting divorced without an attorney becomes a recipe for disaster.

Connect with a skilled divorce attorney with a proven track record of helping clients achieve equitable results in divorce proceedings. The investment can pay for itself many times over.

2. Establish a Support Network

Going through a divorce can feel isolating and overwhelming, especially once you have filed the initial paperwork. Managing these feelings requires a strong network of supporting people. This includes not only professionals like divorce attorneys and Certified Divorce Financial Analysts, but family and friends willing to lend an ear or offer insights. Don’t forget – health and wellness coaches, therapists, and fitness trainers should all be part of your support network too. 

3. Gather Relevant Personal Information 

You’ll need your marriage certificate, proof of residency, proof of identification, and other documents to file your divorce complaint and begin proceedings. Check with your state’s family court to obtain a list of personal information and documents you’ll need to bring when you initiate your divorce filing.

4. Collect Financial Information

Finances can often be among the most complex parts of divorce, so it’s essential that you obtain complete records of your finances, your spouse’s finances, and the debt, income, and assets you have jointly accumulated during the marriage.

Because each state’s laws are different, you’ll need to check with your state’s divorce court to determine the info you will need. If the process seems overwhelming, a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst can assist by helping you gather and organize financial data, locate forgotten and hidden assets, assess joint debt, and perform many other similar tasks.

5. Get Organized

Once you have all of your documents and information, work with your attorney and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst to get all of this information organized to help streamline your divorce proceedings. You’ll also need to organize tasks such as changing your address, establishing utility service, and establishing new day to day living routines.

6. Find a Place to Live

Regaining a sense of stability quickly is essential to thriving after a divorce. This means knowing where you are going to live, and knowing that you can afford the expenses that come with your new living arrangement. If you will be leaving your marital home, the sooner you finalize your new living space, the lower your stress level will be as your divorce case proceeds.

7. Take Care of Yourself

Finally, remember that you need to give yourself the best treatment ever as you are completing your divorce and beginning your new life. You might feel like you have to harness your “superpowers” to keep up with your work, family, and social obligations while internally grappling with the implications of your divorce. Over time, though, running in “superhero mode.” is exhausting.

That’s why it’s essential to give yourself what you need to maintain your sense of wellness in such a stressful time. Your body, mind, and spirit need kind treatment and attention, and these needs don’t stop because you’re in the middle of a divorce.

Getting enough rest, treating yourself to a movie, buying yourself a small gift, and stocking your fridge with healthy meals and snacks instead of fried chicken and ice cream can all help you stay optimistic, energized, and ready to embrace all the new experiences and opportunities coming your way.

Uncertainty can’t be avoided, but by eating healthy, exercising, spending time doing things you enjoy, and surrounding yourself with supportive, loving people, you can quickly thrive in your new, free life as a single person! 

If you would like to learn more about August Wealth Management and our CDFA and CFP services, please feel free to contact us or schedule an appointment.

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