There are more divorces filed in January than in any month of the year! Why? You might wonder! Do any of these ring true for you or those you love who may be facing divorce? Are you moving forward now because:
• You weren’t going to ruin the holidays for the kids or your families and separate before the most wonderful time of the year.
• You had a huge fight that represented your tipping point and forced you to finally make a decision regarding your future.
• You decided after the holidays together that you weren’t going to fake it again next year.
• You resolved to keep this New Year’s Eve resolution to end your marriage once and for all.
• You are tired of the covert life you lead with your lover – who is not your spouse.
• You caught your spouse sneaking off to wish her lover a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, etc.
• You decided to check text messages even though you knew it wasn’t a good idea. But you’re glad you did.
• You decided that it wasn’t good for the kids to witness the two of you acting as if you’d rather be anywhere than in the same room/house/state/country with your spouse.
• You have absolutely decided to file for divorce in January or as soon as you can.
If any or all of the above resonate with you, keep reading!
Before you react and contact an attorney and instruct him to file for divorce, please pause and take 10 deep breaths! There are a few things you need to do before you file! You should create Plan A and sketch a picture of your life without a partner. Do you have any kids and will co-parenting work for you? Who’s going to move from the house? Are you willing to move out or have you assumed that you’re staying in the house? How will you pay the bills? Have you felt this way before and shared these feelings with your spouse? Have you contemplated divorce and maybe even voiced it a couple of times during an argument, or even a few dozen times, during the course of your marriage?
A client recently told me that I should tell people to really look at their marriage through a financial lens! If there is little to no money left over at the end of each month now, the pot won’t suddenly multiply because you’re getting divorced. It’s challenging for one fund to support two lifestyles and households.
Take a good hard look at your marriage and don’t be afraid to look under the hood. Life is full of pressure! Do what you can to save your marriage! But if you’ve decided without a shadow of a doubt that divorce is the way to go, create a plan and a picture of what your life will look like! Talk to lots of divorced people to see what they learned through their divorce and what they would do differently if given the opportunity. Ask questions…and then ask some more. There is so much to learn.
Engage the services of a divorce coach. A divorce coach creates a safe, supportive, nonjudgmental and patient setting, formulate a plan and then navigate your divorce. Talk to a financial advisor, a CPA, a real estate agent, a therapist, etc.
And when it’s time to consult with someone on how to create a parenting schedule for your kids and divide what you own and owe, first consider a mediator. A mediator will work with you to create the divorce that works best for you and your family. You’ll be a family long after the professionals are gone from your life. Don’t destroy that bond.
And when you need to file a petition for divorce or respond to a complaint that was served to you, find an attorney who will represent you and best serve you through the journey. You know your family and situation best. Don’t lose sight of that especially early on in the process.
But before you do anything in haste, sleep on it! Count to 10! Take a long walk! Be thoughtful. It’s a huge decision and know that there will be many more to come.