Research suggests that few life events are as disruptive as divorce, especially when it happens unexpectedly. However, being prepared for divorce - anticipating its beginning and understanding what you can do to help yourself through the process - can make a major difference in terms of how much stress you feel. If you are considering divorce or suspect your spouse may be getting ready to file for divorce, here are five steps you can take to minimize the negative impacts of a divorce on your life.
Understand Your Financial Situation
Many couples have an implicit or explicit arrangement in which one spouse manages the family’s financial affairs. If you are not the spouse who takes care of the money, do everything you can to learn about the specifics of your family’s financial situation. Find out where your bank accounts are located and what the balances are, how much money you owe on your mortgage, car payments, and other loans, and how much you have saved for retirement. Gathering documentation that proves these things is important as well.
Consider Where You Will Live
Do you already have a sense of whether you or your spouse will stay in the marital home? If you are going to be the one moving out, where will you go - and how will you afford to stay there? If you may need to spend some time with a family member or friend, try to have a plan for how long your stay will be, how you can help out while you are there, and what you will need to do to get into your own place....