5 Things to Do BEFORE Talking About Divorce
Divorce happens. It’s hard and it’s scary for everyone involved. However, as I have counseled dozens of women as they embark on this journey of designing a new life for themselves and I can tell you that it can be painful OR it can be empowering. You just have to protect yourself and play your cards right.
Don’t Tell Anyone. Yet.
Keep your cards close to your vest. Don’t tell your mom, your neighbor, or your best girlfriend. No one gets to know about your plans for divorce before your partner knows. The person who has the most advantage has the most information. Let that person be you.
(Please note, you can tell your therapist because your therapist is bound to doctor/patient confidentiality and gossip isn’t a risk.)
By following the rule above, you will have the advantage of time and information on your side. You will be able to review your assets and secure printed records of all of your property. (This is critical so that your partner can’t hide money from the court after the fact.) Don’t leave any stone unturned. Record the names of all financial institution name, address, account number, balance, interest rate, etc. Knowing what is at stake financially will help you plot your course.
What Do YOU Need?
What assets do you need to leave this marriage with? Do you need alimony or child support? Do you want full or shared custody? Have you run the numbers? Do you know how much you will need every month to maintain your lifestyle? Do the math. Know your number. This will help you negotiate in your own favor down the road.
Increase Your Access to Money.
While shopping can be great therapy, put away your credit cards for the time being. It’s time to decrease liabilities and increase your access to money. Pay down shared debt and establish credit of your own if you do not have credit already. You are likely going to need spend on some big-ticket items in your first months on your own – such as buying car or renting a new apartment. You’re going to need plenty of money and credit to do it.
Assemble your Team.
This is the best time to interview divorce lawyers, consult a financial advisor, (who you do not share with your spouse,) decide where you might like to live if you were to leave start a new life on your own, and more. This is the window of time when you can make weighted decisions that feel right to you – rather than getting yourself into panic mode and letting fear drive your decisions.
This information is not meant to be a substitute for individual legal advice.