by Brie Reyes
Whether you are just considering a divorce, or you and your partner have already started the process, there is much to think about and do. Along with your normal day-to-day life, you now have the added burden of preparing for and going through divorce proceedings. Here are three things that any woman can do to prepare for divorce that will make it easier and set you up for success as you move forward.
1. Interview multiple divorce attorneys
Let’s get clear on this: not all attorneys are the same. There is no reason why you can’t, and shouldn’t, interview at least three divorce attorneys before you hire one to represent you. “Testing the waters” is expected and encouraged before entering an attorney-client relationship. You want to be sure the one you hire will fight for you, no matter how amicable the divorce is.
2. Gather your financial documents.
Start to get copies of all your financial documents if you haven’t already. Some things that you’ll want to have include:
- Tax returns
- Bank statements
- Retirement account statements
- Investment account statements
- Credit reports
- Home and auto deeds
- Wills and estate plans
This is also the time, if you haven’t, to start taking control of your financial situation. You will need to have your own money to pay your bills, especially if you and your partner aren’t on good terms. Work on improving your credit score, if necessary. Consider selling the house and extra cars.
3. Start to think of your life after divorce.
A fresh start can be both exciting and frightening. Going into your new life with some plans on what you’ll do for work and which friends you’ll lean on for support will better ensure your transition back to being single is as easy and freeing as possible. It’s never a good idea to count on spousal support as your sole income; create a list of ways you can generate income so you not only aren’t totally dependent on your ex but also to give you something to do and give you something new to focus on. Also, update your will, estate plan, and life insurance policy to reflect your new address and a change in beneficiaries.
4. Finally, take care of yourself during this time.
You will be busy, tired, stressed, worried…you’ll feel every emotion possible. But make time to eat well, exercise, spend time with close friends and family. And don’t forget to ditch those who are negative. Women tend to be very caring people, but now that you have one less person to care for, schedule a massage, take an afternoon off to see a movie, or have a girls-weekend with your pals.