Whenever you find yourself at the threshold of your marriage, heading towards divorce can actually be a very demanding process. You cannot simply snap your marital ties, after having built it with your partner over the period of time that you have been together. There is a whole world that you will have to dismantle, and you will begin to see that you have touched a ground zero of sorts in various areas. At times like this, it is best to have a handy list of everything that needs to be taken care of. What needs to be discussed, what needs to be separated and what needs to go away completely.
Getting a divorce is not only an emotional taxing procedure; it also involves a number of financial and social decisions that you have to take. Most of these are not going to be easy, as you will invariably find yourself alone at some point or the other. Your family is taking a hit, but it’s most arduous impact will be on you and you must be armed at all times to deal with the baggage that you will carry forward from the extinguishing fire of your marriage. Here is a list of ten things to guide you through the things that you will have to consider and work on when you are filing for a divorce.
1. Embrace the change, shower yourself with love and attention
More than anything else, this divorce is a big change for you from the life that you’ve lived so far. This change can get very difficult to embrace, especially when you find yourself alone. But know that this is only just a setback in life and harness this to become one of your strengths. Embrace the change and spend quality time with yourself. Personally, if this were me having to deal with a divorce, I may get a new haircut and spend an entire day relaxing and listening to The Beatles. Honestly, you have to give yourself some time here to accept what is coming. It is impending, the storm, the emotional turbulence and the drastic change. You cannot change what is bound to happen, but you can change your attitude and you can turn your life around. Extra hours at the gym, a couple of outings with your girl gang, a couple of new books or an exciting journey to a place you’ve always wanted to go. Your entire life is ahead of you and the mantle rests upon you to make the best of it.
2. Make the transition easy for your children
Your children are the most important part of your marriage. Irrespective of the fact that you have differences with your partner, you cannot damage your child’s life. You have to sit them down and explain to them that sometimes two people cannot live together anymore because it is very difficult. No matter what the differences be between your spouse and you, you have no right to let that ruin your child’s life. Children take longer to deal with such news than we do and it is our responsibility to make something like this as easy for them as possible. You have to make them sail through this. Begin with remaining cordial with your partner and not getting into cold wars with your partner around your child. The psychological effect of such disintegration can be adverse on your child and you have to be there for them all the time. Around this time, you are bound to experience bad behaviour, tantrums and panic attacks from your children and you cannot afford to lose your cool. This will be a good time to take your child to see a counselor who can solve the child’s insecurities and also make it easier for him/her to deal with the idea of the separation of his/her parents. Despite the fact that you are separating, you have to work together as a team to ensure that this does not cripple your child emotionally, at the end of the day, your child is your shared responsibility and either of you cannot afford to shrug it in the name of divorce.
3. Keep a check on your financial outlay and assess your income
It would be foolish to depend on your newfound financial independence for your survival. It is not just about how you live each day, but this also involves planning for the future. You have to act fast starting now. Make a list of all areas where you can cut down your expenditure and avoid major expenses for some time after your divorce. You have to make your own life and a couple of impulsive decisions are all it can take to bring you to a point of breakdown. Tell yourself that you are not going to depend on anyone, you need not beg. You have only ended a marriage that you knew was doing you more harm than good and you need not live at someone else’s mercy. You have to know whether you are going to be able to fend yourself with your current job or whether you will have to find yourself a job if you have not been working all this while.
If you haven’t been working up until now, there is a glaring possibility that you may have to. So go scouting around the job-market, make yourself a resume, look for all those certificates of achievement that you may have put away and assess yourself. You have to identify something that sits comfortably with your skill-set and also something that can keep you financially stable. There is a steep hill to scale ahead of here, and you cannot afford to fall. These are areas that you cannot falter at decision-making because these are the very decisions that will shape your life ahead.
4. Demarcate the property that belonged to you before marriage and safeguard it
It is natural to feel protective about all the things that you have brought into the house that the two of you own together. At times like this, you might want to draw the lines and keep your property away from the mess that awaits you. This could be your library of books that you brought along from your parents’ home to your new home; this could be your jewellery or your music collection. You have to be territorial and firm about some things that you are not obligated to split. You could either box them up, or you could move into some other place to keep them safe. However you chose to do it, this must be your preparatory exercise to clearly define what belongs to the two of you and what belongs to you alone. You need not walk out of the house empty handed and leave everything to split with your marriage; you have the right to keep whatever you are not legally required to share. Also, this would be a really nice time to either discuss directly with your partner, or through your attorney clearly stating what is yours and what is meant to be shared. This way, you can avoid any unwanted shocks or surprise during the divorce proceedings.
5. Assess your spouse’s assets
From the day that you married your spouse, many of the assets that he/she owns now partly belong to you. Seat yourself down and if it is possible, ask your spouse to discuss this with you and take you through the financial bifurcation. This will allow transparency and this will ease up the task for both of you. Keep yourself aware of your spouse’s annual income and the details of his/her bank account. If this is proving to be difficult for you, entrust your attorney with this responsibility. You need to have a thorough knowledge of the financial and non-financial assets of your spouse at any cost because when you’re going to divorce, unless you are sure of what you need to get there are possibilities of you being duped. Constant vigilance and thorough knowledge should be your goal. You have to know about the existence of the assets so that you can claim your rightful share in it.
6. Start to plan on your new life
Walking away from a marriage only means everything that was earlier shared by someone else, is no longer going to be shared with them. You’re on your own now. The road forward bifurcates, and the two of you will have to move forward and begin to lead two separate lives. Start planning, where are you going to live? Do you intend to crash with your parents for a while or are you going to go ahead and rent out a flat for yourself? Where will you set up your new base? Are you going to be able to afford it? Do you want to be at proximity with your friends and family? Are you going to be cordial to his friends and family? There are hoards of questions that need your immediate and undivided attention and you have to start planning ASAP. You cannot leave these things for after the divorce because you will find yourself under a lot of unnecessary duress at that point. When you can avoid stress and unwelcome queasiness and anxiety, why not chalk out a solid plan already? Sit down, speak to a realtor if necessary, see where you can rebuild from scratch and reflect on how effective your plan is.
7. Avoid smearing your ex
Divorces can get very bitter, and it is entirely up to us to keep it dignified. Understand that this is simply a point where you are meant to bid goodbye to someone who you thought could understand you, but eventually, it turned out they were not. The two of you were never meant to be. It didn’t work out because both parties have possibly erred. Know that one hand can never clap, so if there is noise, it is the responsibility of the two of you. Now that we have clearly established that the marriage and the domicile was only between the two of you, it would be very wise to keep it low profile and not bring in third parties into this. Don’t go around smearing your spouse around his/her friends. That is called being nasty and you don’t want that. You will have to meet your spouse in the future for various discussions and settlements; it is always helps if you have been dignified and cordial about it. What’s the point of ruining something further? Your marriage is falling apart and it is as difficult for you as it is for your spouse, why worsen your ties further and make this sore? You are an adult and you may as well behave like one, at times when it is most necessary for you to display some composure.
8. Keep your family aware
Your family will stand with you through turbulent times, but you have to keep them in the loop at all times. Sit down your mother, father and siblings and discuss with them what you have been through and what has happened that has led to this decision. Have you been abused? Did your spouse cheat on you? Has all the love in your relationship drained away? You have to talk this out. Families can prove to be one of the biggest forms of support systems around and if you think they are close enough to you for them to know the truth, the entire truth and nothing but the truth, you must tell them everything there is to know about the big change that’s coming. On the other hand, I personally suggest that if you’re family is one that you are not close to or the kind that don’t support the idea of you walking away, just let them know the important stuff; What? Why? And When? You have to mentally prepare yourself for the rough times that may come ahead and you have to be strong enough to brave it by yourself. But if you have a family that you know you can fall back on, don’t hesitate to let them hold your weight.
9. Be sure of what you want
Before you go ahead and ask your spouse for a divorce, or before even procuring those divorce papers, you must speak to your spouse and address the issue directly. You cannot have a change of heart after you have divorced, the implications of that border on absurdity and ridicule and most of all, almost irreparable damage to your relationship. So after you have made yourself aware of the situation, ask yourself whether you really want to break this apart, or is it just a new level of frustration that is driving you to do something you may not actually want. You don’t want to regret having broken a relationship that could have been salvaged with patience, honesty and a holiday.
Most cases of divorce applications can be traced back to frustration because of high-stress lifestyles that leave very little time for one to spend with family. When this escalates, it is thoroughly capable of touching the end of one’s patience and it may just make people numb. But, if the dissent is still at a place where it can be saved, make sure you have worked on it before you have gone ahead to call it off. Marriage is more than just a legal union of two people; it is a promise to love one another for their best and most importantly, their worst. Of course, happily ever after do not exist, and in reality, marriages are breakable. The point here is for you to be absolutely a one hundred percent sure before you take that big step away from everything that you may have built together.
10. Brief yourself with the help of a legal consultant
There are so many legal aspects to a divorce that you may not have considered, and when you are taking a step as big as this, it is always imperative that you have a thorough knowledge of the legal implications involved. It can be something as simple as the procedure to take away your soon-to-be ex-spouse’s last name after yours or it could be something as critical as the custody of your children, the disintegration of assets that you own by yourself etc. A legal consultant will be able to enlighten you in these areas and make you aware of the legal consequences of filing and in the future, attaining the divorce. At all times, you have to remember that there are cold hard rules that you will have to play by and you have to have a commendable grasp over these rules. The very essence of a divorce lies in the fact that it is legal separation from your spouse. Your legal consultant or your attorney can also play an effective role as a mediator, being the third-party middle man who handles your divorce and negotiates for you. In cases when the feeling of needing separation is mutual, two attorneys can collaborate to work together to give each of you what you want and most importantly, what you need. So do keep in mind, the moment that you have finalized a divorce, the first thing you ought to do is call that divorce attorney.
So, go ahead, plan how this is going to work for your family, your children and most importantly you. Don’t fall prey to depression, maintain a healthy diet and try to stay as composed and positive as possible. So what if this didn’t work out, there are still other 7 billion people in the planet, surely, there could be someone else for you!