As modern society keeps transforming and breaking older norms and conventions, some traditional pillars still hold an important place. Marriage is one such pillar ingrained in our culture. Many people still look at marriage and raising a family as the definitive source of meaning and purpose in life. This is precisely why the disintegration of a marriage can be so devastating.
Divorce is capable of putting your whole life into disarray. It can be particularly disastrous for you if you’re stepping into this mess with your eyes closed. But how can one prepare for something so unpleasant as a divorce? This question is something worth pondering.
As unfortunate and upsetting as a divorce can be, oftentimes it is the only recourse left. There are certain scenarios in which no matter how hard life may seem after divorce, it is still a preferable alternative over the torment of continuing in a failing marriage.
Unfortunately, there is not a lot of information or guidance for people who are struggling to prepare themselves for a divorce. There is a need for proper planning and things to consider before you even decide to seek a lawyer. In fact, with thorough enough preparation, you might not even end up needing a lawyer at all!
1. Give it due consideration
Divorce is a monumental step in any person’s life. Given that you are even thinking about it implies that something is truly amiss in your marriage; maybe it’s love, maybe it’s companionship, or maybe it’s just communication. You need to take a long hard look in the mirror and be honest with yourself about what you are trying to accomplish by getting a divorce. Is it a necessary step towards seeking a better life, or just an attempt to get back at your spouse?
The thing to keep in mind is that divorce can be an arduous process. Your intention behind going through this difficult process should be justifiably worthy. You must confront your inner anxiety and insecurities along with outside reality to get a better grasp of the situation. Often, we get so consumed with our own emotions and feelings, that it overwhelms us into making irrational choices. So one must think this through before making any decision.
Try to think deeply, without any malice, about why you want to undergo this process and what exactly you hope to achieve from it. Once, you have a clear objective or goal in mind, it will either guide you away from divorce or it will push you towards it with even greater resolve. No matter what ends up being your decision, a well thought out decision is likely to keep you content for long afterwards. If your resolve towards getting a divorce is stronger after deep consideration, then you should start knitting a plan, in this case secretly, to proceed towards a divorce.
2. Put your finances in order
The very first thing you should pay attention to is your finances. It is one of the fundamentals that are at the center of any divorce. Negotiations can become hard afterwards if you are not cautious enough. Financial awareness and understanding are essential. You must acquaint yourself with all the assets and liabilities that you mutually-own with your spouse. Not just that, you must be vigilant about your independently-owned assets as well.
This is because, in an event of a divorce, everything is precarious. Legally, you and your spouse would be required to disclose your respective net worth as soon as the proceedings start. Therefore, it is preferable to have everything in order before you move to file.
3. Try to stick to your standard of living
This is a point worth considering, especially if you are someone who will be requiring spousal support after divorce. Courts tend to look at your standard of living over the last year of your marriage. And the court bases the alimony amount on those figures. Often, when marriages start to fail, there is an obvious deterioration in the living expenses of the spouse who is financially dependent or not an equal contributor to the household.
The result of this is that the court is likely to assume that this is the normal standard of living that you are accustomed to, rather than the result of marital discord and displeasure. Therefore, you must try to live life the way you would if none of this would have happened. You should keep spending money the way you normally would.
4. Make a career your priority
You should start preparing yourself for life after divorce. And the very first step, if you are financially dependent on your spouse, is to get a job as soon as possible. If you are trained at something, it is best to start emailing your resume. However, if you think it would be hard for you to land a decent paying job with your current skill-set, then you must seek out vocational training or other educational courses that may help you acquire certain expertise that may help you build a career.
Having a plan ready will also give you motivation and direction in these dark times. With all the turmoil in your life, getting yourself to a college, apprenticeship, or trade school will divert your mind from negativity. It will give you an opportunity to focus on other things that may help you to sustain the hardship of divorce and come out a better person on the other side. If you do your career planning before seeking a divorce, you will be better prepared for what’s to come next.
5. Make notes
The importance of making notes cannot be overstated. A divorce proceeding is, at the end of the day, like any other legal proceeding. What matters are facts and shreds of evidence. The small, mundane events of your daily, private life can be put under a microscope in the court of law and can be used against you.
So, it is critical to document everything. Maintain a journal and make notes about every minor detail that occurs during the day. Tiny bits of information like who left at what time to do what is a starting point. Document your visits, as well as your spouse’s. Your fights and arguments are an especially necessary thing to note.
No matter how upset you are, make sure you put it all down on a paper before you go to bed every night. Minor details can prove immensely useful later on. If you are not documenting them regularly, they may slip out of your mind.
6. Perform diligent research
This is probably the most important thing that you should do before entering a lawyer’s office. You may find through research that you do not need the help of a lawyer at all. Having a thorough understanding about the divorce and custody laws of your state may provide you clarity about your chances in court and how you may end up faring against your spouse.
Having this understanding, you can look for other alternatives like marriage counseling, or mediation where you might come to an agreement with your spouse and end up with an out of court settlement.
You may save yourself and your spouse from spending insane amounts of money on lawyer fees and other legal expenses that are entirely avoidable. If you keep the well-being of everyone involved in mind, your research can bring better outcomes for both you and your spouse after divorce.
7. Keep your headspace away from negative thoughts and emotions
It is entirely plausible for a person to feel cheated, unwanted, and wronged as the marriage unravels. However, negative emotions always override rational thinking and logical reasoning. Therefore, you should try to overcome those emotions, as they may act against your own best interests.
One effective technique to keep negativity at bay is to remind yourself of how you would like to be perceived by others and then behave in the same manner. This will keep you from acting on your worst impulses and will direct your actions towards a more meaningful conclusion.
8. Do not hire lawyers
It could be dangerous to hire and communicate with divorce attorneys. Your spouse may reveal your plans. There is a good alternative – divorce over the internet. Just go to the site, check eligibility and get your divorce forms ready for filing. Simply do not give access to your PC or laptop to your spouse. Everything should go smoothly.
Looking for closure in a divorce is equivalent to searching for water in the middle of a desert. It is a legal battle that can quickly spiral out of anyone’s control. The key is to have realistic expectations and a rational mentality about the process. If you proceed with those two things in mind, you have a shot at finding the oasis of middle ground that may hopefully help you to transition towards a better life.