Many people assumed that once they want a divorce, they are truly ready for it. However, little did they know that they can be hit the hardest (both emotionally and financially) when couples begin the divorce process. It will ease the transition for both you and your children by thinking ahead and taking practical steps if your marriage is on the line and you are contemplating of divorcing your spouse. You will need a solid exit plan if you are considering leaving your spouse.

Pre-divorce planning often involves carefully planning all aspects of your life. Couples facing the possibility of a divorce, face the following dilemmas:

Finances

A lengthy and bitterly fought divorce might result in you having a shortage of money to get on with life normally. As such, here are some financial planning steps to take to reduce the stress of managing finances.

  • Resolve financial issues – Consult a trusted and reliable lawyer for advice on the issues of custody, care and control of the children, maintenance and division of assets to ensure a peace of mind.
  • Make a budget – Make a list of monthly expenses which includes expenses for the household, children and yourself. Do remember to track your monthly expenses and compare this to your monthly income in order to decide on how to reduce overall expenses.
  • Control debt – It is vital to keep debt at a minimum with the new expenses incurred that are related to a divorce.
  • Continue to pay your bills – It is important to remember that you are legally responsible to cover your own bills (mortgage, real estate taxes, credit cards, car loans, income tax, health insurance etc) until financial obligations are settled in Court.
  • Plan for the future – Where are you going to stay after the divorce? How much must I save in order to retire? Re-examine all investments and do not be afraid to explore alternative career options. Taking the time to define your financial goals will help immensely post-divorce. 

Career

Make your career plans a top priority. Start exploring alternative career options if you are already working but your income would not suffice when you regain your singlehood after a divorce.

Children

Going through a divorce can be stressful for both adults and children hence we recommend that you leave your children out of it. Every divorce will affect the children of the marriage and many times the initial reaction is one of shock, frustration, worry or sadness. The following can help children through this difficult time:

  • Minimize the disruptions to the children’s routines.
  • Maintain each parent’s involvement in the children’s daily lives.
  • Keep visible conflicts, arguments and legal talk away from the children.
  • Avoid negativity and blame around the house.

As soon as you are certain of your plans, you need to be prepared for how to talk to your children about your decision to live apart. You may also need to learn ways to help them cope and to understand how their lives will be impacted. It is important to try to leave feelings of anger, blame or guilt out of it. The discussion should also fit the child’s maturity, age and temperament.

Support system

Going through a divorce is devastating. Breaking the news of a divorce can create different reactions in your friends and family. Do not fight your conflicting emotions and do not bottle up your negative feelings. Reach out and confide in reliable people that you trust and whom will be there to provide emotional support.

Future goals

A divorce is difficult and painful as it launches parties into uncharted territory. The best solution is to create new goals in life. It is important to know (and to keep reminding yourself that you can and will move on. Healing takes time, so be patient with yourself. In the interim, take time to plan for what you would like to do with the rest of your life. In times of emotional crisis, there is an opportunity to grow and learn. Learning to take care of yourself can be one of the most valuable lessons you learn following a divorce. Keep a positive mindset and you will find yourself emerging from this experience with a better knowledge of yourself and also feel stronger moving forward!

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