We all know that divorce involves a significant upheaval in the life of a married couple, often in the worst time emotionally for the individuals involved. But people going through a divorce can make the process a bit easier, a bit less stressful, by following a few guidelines.
First, take control over your paperwork. Much of divorce involves dividing the marital estate and establishing each party’s finances. We do this through documentation. In a marriage, one spouse often handles the bills, and as the marriage deteriorates, how these bills get paid and what the family spends becomes more suspect. More spouses than you would imagine end up surprised when they review the financial records for the first full time prior to divorce, finding expenses that shock them or funds missing. To help yourself and your attorney, collect all your bank statements, pay records, retirement account statements, mortgage statements and credit card bills. Take an inventory of all personal property and major assets, designating each as marital or separate. Find your tax returns. All of this will empower you and make divorce less of a hassle.
Second, begin preparing for life as a single individual again. Take a full accounting of your income and expenses, including what you think you might receive or own in spousal support and child support. Plan to downsize if necessary. Think about the major decisions you will have to make about major assets and work out a way to live within your new financial realities. The biggest source of stress post-divorce is finding out you cannot afford to meet your monthly expenses. If you budget in advance, you will be much happier for it.
Third, and perhaps hardest, try and set your emotions aside. When we get emotional, we can make choices that we may later regret. Your rational mind is your friend during a divorce. If it becomes too hard emotionally, do not hesitate to seek out help, from friends or a therapist or a spiritual advisor. Protecting your mental health is a high priority.
Follow these steps and divorce will surely be less stressful.
If you have questions about the stress of divorce, contact us – we can help.