Guest Author - Caren Green
You’ve decided to divorce. Here’s what to do next.
1. Do your research. Every situation is different, and every state has different laws. If there is proven infidelity, divorce may be much quicker. If you have irreconcilable differences or other cause for divorce, your state may have a lengthy waiting period to trudge through. Knowing what the process is, and how to best prepare for it, should be your first step upon making this decision.
2. Keep careful records. Save texts and emails between you and your soon-to-be-ex. You never know what your attorney may find useful.
3. Seek support in counseling and/or friendships. When you are leaving a partnership it is especially important to keep others close. You are not alone and there are many different ways to find support from others (for instance, here in the forums on BellaOnline – we’re here for you)! You may want to join a support group for those going through divorce or you may find closeness and solace in a worship community such as your church, mosque or synagogue.
4. If you’ve ever seen the movie Bandits, you may remember Cate Blanchett’s character saying “I picked the wrong life!” Since you’re going to be building one aspect of your life over again, spend some time thinking about your life overall. Evaluate whether there are other aspects of life that you aren’t happy with, and might want to make changes to. This is a fresh start! Take advantage of it.
5. Do some financial planning. Odds are good that your budget is about to change along with your lifestyle. What are your immediate financial needs? Are you looking at a move, a job change (or getting a job after being a housewife), or other changing needs? Will you need to transfer utilities? Can you agree on child support or alimony before waiting for the court to settle the amounts for you? There’s little in life that can be more stressful than financial burdens and a careful evaluation and some planning can prevent some graying hair!
Break all of these steps down into bite-sized chunks and handle them as you are able to. Even if your emotions tell you that these things are urgent unless you are leaving an abusive situation you do not have to rush through these steps. Hasty decisions are often regretted, but level-headed, well-planned ones do not often need to be remade. Take the time to make the best possible decisions you can the first time to save yourself the pain and hassle of rethinking them later.