by Nancy Fagan-Murphy, a mediator and divorce planning specialist
It might seem jaded, but getting pre-divorce advice and planning for an eventual split is a practical step to take when you know your marriage is doomed.
If you’re considering leaving your spouse, you need a solid exit plan. More than fifty percent of all marriages end in divorce. And if that isn’t bad enough, women are the hardest hit as a result. In fact, most women are in a worse place financially after it’s all said and done. With this said, you don’t have to become a statistic. You have the power to come out ahead if you have a good plan of action.
Pre-divorce planning is not about taking your spouse for all you can. It’s about making smart choices with a clear mind. It involves carefully planning out all aspects of your life from where you are now to where you would like to be. It requires methodical preparation in the months leading up to informing your spouse you want a divorce. The more you plan, the better your position will be in your post-divorce life.
Below are a few areas to start thinking about.
Finances: If you’re expecting alimony and child support to take care of your finances after a divorce, you might be in for a big surprise. Most men will fight to keep as much money as they can. This battle can result in you having a shortage of money to make ends meet after your divorce (these divorce financial planning tips can help).
Career: The best way to avoid financial ruin is to make your career plans a top priority. If you’re already working but your income won’t be enough when you’re single, start re-planning your career. If that involves career counseling, re-training or going back to school, do it now while you can. Any money spent in this area will be considered joint money and not deducted from your settlement. The key, however, is doing it before you ask for a divorce.
Children: If you’re a parent, you need to be prepared for how to tell your kids about the divorce. In doing so, you also need to learn ways to help them cope and to understand how their lives will be impacted.
Support System: News of a divorce can create different reactions in your friends and family. Some people will feel threatened and fear their marriages will be at risk if they interact with you. Others, the unconditional friends, will be there no matter what. Knowing who belongs in this category is important. Those will be the people to turn to when you need a shoulder to cry on.
Future Goals: Divorce can be devastating. It’s the end of once-held goals that are now gone. Because of this, it’s very easy to get sucked into an emotional black hole of depression. The best remedy is to create new goals for your future. Take the time to consider your interests, desires and what you’d like to do with the rest of your life. Having something positive and productive to work toward will make a big difference in your emotional life.
There are many aspects to consider when planning for a life without your spouse. Instead of hoping the best will happen, take control and make sure you’re protected.