Light at the End of the Tunnel: Surviving Divorce
Divorce is hard. Divorce is staring down the barrel of all the years the two of you spent together, and feeling the weight of your decisions. Divorce is loneliness and fear. Divorce is cataloging your entire life and deciding what you get to take with you. Divorce is so much more than just the emotional toll it takes on you. If you have children, they will crave answers to why their lives are shifting. Custody will have to be decided. The custody of pets must also be determined. From there you have to add up all the financial and physical wealth you’ve gained as a team and divide it to both parties satisfaction.
It doesn’t matter which side of the divorce you’re on, whether you asked for it or not, there is an uncertainty there. Having to start everything over again will give you pause, if only for a moment. A lot of things happen during a divorce, and it can be easy to get swept up in it. There is usually anger from at least one party. If the anger is yours, don’t give in to it. Divorce doesn’t have to be a brutal fight, a desperate need to wrestle every ounce you can from the other party. In the end, none of that stuff will matter. Fighting with each other over Tupperware, Aunt Helen’s tea cozies, and a pizza cutter won’t truly make either of you feel better. “Winning” one of these items might feel good in the moment, but dragging out proceedings over every object will leave you both hurting more.
Even though you are divorcing, remember, not all the times were bad. This person is someone you once loved. You planned a future with. You have inside jokes and funny stories. The relationship didn’t work, and that’s ok, but don’t lose sight of all you gained from the marriage. Don’t burn the bridge more than you have to. If you have kids, this is a bridge you will have to walk on often. Burning it makes you just as likely to get hurt. If you have kids, they are watching how you treat their other parent. It’s setting a baseline for every break up they have.
No matter how long the divorce seems, no matter how hard it is to get through the changes and the loss, all of it will come to an end. You will walk out the other side. When you do, there is an internal push for change. Cutting your hair, buying all new furniture, a need to pull all of the pieces together immediately. Be wary of that inner voice. It’s all too easy to overspend and end up in very troubled waters. This time all on your own. Make the changes, pull things together, but do it mindfully and responsibly.
Divorce is a fresh start. Divorce is a way to reinvent yourself. Divorce is the beginning of the next phase of your life. Divorce is pushing yourself on to better things. Divorce can be scary, but it’s usually for the best.
3 Financial Considerations To Make in the Process of Divorce
Your financial state does not have to be ruined by divorce. In fact, it can be easy to take charge of your finances by following some of these simple steps:
- Go Through a Professional and Bring Your Documents: There are a couple of documents you are going to want to go over with a professional. For example, your will, which you are going to want to change. It should be reviewed so your spouse is not benefiting off of it. Also, be sure to go over your documents, such as your life insurance policy, 401K, and IRA to ensure that the beneficiaries are matching how you want.
- Think About Health Insurance: If you were getting health insurance through your spouse’s workplace, then health insurance needs must be reconsidered. Are you going to be able to afford your own private health insurance? Are their programs you are eligible for to receive health insurance at more affordable costs? This is something you can discuss with your financial planner specializing in divorce and figure out how you might be able to factor these new costs into your budget.
- Get Statements for All Debts: Any debt that you are tied to with your spouse, even if they were the one making payments on it, you are still responsible for those payments being made if you were a co-signer. This includes statements for the mortgage, credit cards, the car, and more. You want to work towards separating these accounts, but also ensuring that they are being paid for in the meantime so it does not affect your credit, which can only damage your financial plan post divorce.
Taking charge of your financial situation in the process of your divorce can certainly empower you and make this life transition easier on you not only financially, but emotionally, as well.
When you’re getting divorced, the emotional aspect of it is probably on your mind more than the financial. You’re just trying to get used to the idea of being single again. So you may not pay too much attention to the way in which the finances are arranged. However, if you don’t pay attention to this aspect now, you’re sure to regret it later.
Expenses Increase After a Divorce
Let’s face it: two people living alone are going to spend more money than two people living together. When you only have one rent/mortgage to pay and when you’re buying groceries in bulk, you’re going to save money. So it’s important to make sure that you’re not putting yourself at a disadvantage, financially speaking.
Alimony and Child Support
Most women have to decide whether to apply for alimony and child support. Don’t let your pride prevent you from doing this because you’ll regret it later. You may already have a job but if your spouse was the main breadwinner, your job may not pay you as well as you need to support yourself and your kids. You’re not out to fleece your ex, only to get what’s needed for you and your kids to maintain a decent standard of living.
Splitting the Assets
Make sure that you know the value of any assets the two of you might own, like a house or a vacation home. You might end up selling these assets and splitting the proceeds. Or one of you might take one while the other will take the other. But if you opt not to sell, then don’t settle for the asset with a lower market value. Make sure you get your half of the assets, whether you choose to liquidate them or not.
Working It Out Amicably
The best thing to do is to work things out amicably with your ex-spouse, with both lawyers present, or a mediator, if that’s what you’ve opted to do. You don’t want things to get to the point where you’re fighting it out in court.