The decision to separate and divorce is among life’s most difficult. It’s common to feel confused and overwhelmed by the roller coaster of emotions and the decisions you need to make about your future. To help ease the transition, it’s important to get advice and support from others (aside from your attorney or mediator), starting with strengthening ties with close friends and family.
The following tips can help you start thinking about some important things to consider. This provides general categories of things you may need to do or think about as you move through the process.
Children. Discuss how to tell your children; decide how you and your partner will continue to provide support, access arrangements, child care, etc.
Property. Decide who will live where, whether you’ll sell your residence or if one partner will stay, and where pets will live.
Financial. Open a checking and savings account in your name only, and transfer money from joint accounts into your own accounts. Apply for credit cards in your own name. Discuss financial support for the children; who will pay essential bills; agree on dividing up any assets and debts. Update beneficiary information.
Documentation. Collect and make extra copies of all financial information (tax returns, business records, bank account records, investment records, deeds, mortgages, employee benefit information, debt records, prenuptial agreements, community property agreements, etc.). Store them in a safe place outside your home, such as a safe deposit box in your own name.
Health insurance. If you don’t have your own health insurance, find out whether it’s possible to continue coverage through your spouse’s insurance until the divorce is final. Consider getting needed medical and dental work done while you still have insurance coverage.
Need more guidance? Begin locating in-network therapists, as well as local legal and/or financial specialists, who can help you with the next steps.