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.
Getting Serious? Be Sure to Discuss These 5 Topics Before Taking the Leap
Dating in a “swipe right” world is much different than how your parents dated. Courtship has evolved into speed dating, dating apps, and inflated profiles. The good news is one aspect of dating hasn’t changed. Discussing life-changing deal breakers before making ultimate commitments is still a best practice. If you find yourself in a semi-serious relationship and are contemplating a commitment, be sure to address these common social topics, and their financial implications before moving forward.
Wanting or not wanting children can make or break a relationship instantly. Know your preferences and don’t be afraid to engage in this conversation. Whether or not to have children can be a dynamic, life-changing decision. It also comes with a financial commitment of child-rearing costs, daycare, and tuitions. Make sure your partner shares your views.
Where to Live
If you’ve dreamt of country living and imagine yourself raising a family in a rural setting, you need to share this with your partner to make sure you’re not committing to someone who feels just as strongly about living in the city. Where you plan to establish your family will also have financial implications. Be sure to discuss your expectations so you can prepare together how best to manage the cost of living in your dream location.
We often avoid discussing religion when we’re starting off a new relationship. However, if you’re considering a long-term commitment, it’s probably best to have these discussions. Aligning your moral compass with someone may be simple but adhering to a series of spiritual requirements or adopting a new faith altogether might be a deal breaker. Be candid and honest about what you expect. Religion can play a part in every aspect of life together including ceremonies, child-rearing, and obligations.
Division of Finances
Be clear about your spending decisions, setting up finances and investments. If you’re adamant about maintaining your own accounts, discuss it with your partner. Maybe you both agree to make all of these financial decisions together and jointly. Don’t be afraid to discuss credit scores, outstanding debts and plans for long-term savings. The more you’re able to address up front, the easier the transition will be into a committed partnership.
Maybe your dream is to be an entrepreneur. Maybe you want to climb the corporate ladder with your firm. Maybe you don’t want to work at all. Talking about your career goals and understanding your partner’s career goals can uncover potential deal breakers. Career choices will also directly affect your income as a household.
Disagreeing on any of these topics doesn’t necessarily constitute a breakup. It will, however, be a good indicator of shared beliefs and relationship compromise. Stick to your guns on those most important to you, but don’t be afraid to negotiate others. Compromising and settling are very different. Be willing to compromise, but don’t settle for someone who challenges your core beliefs. Discussing these before walking down the aisle can help eliminate a lifetime of resentment or costly separation later.