In this final installment, we cover preparing for the divorce process.
First, adopt the right mindset. The more open minded and prepared you are, the more smoothly your divorce will go. Get clear on your priorities post divorce and if at any time,you waiver or are unsure of how to continue, your priorities will help guide you to the post divorce life you envisioned.
Secondly, assemble the right divorce team. A DIY bookcase assembly is one thing and a DIY divorce is a whole other thing entirely. Divorce professionals include mediators, mortgage lenders, Certified Divorce Real Estate Experts aka CDREs, therapists, divorce coaches, attorneys, tax professionals and Certified Divorce Financial Planners or CDFPs. Divorce professionals know how to cut through the noise and keep the process moving smoothy.
Interview divorce professionals using the following questions:
Seeking a divorce professional with a compatible personality is important since it shapes the kind of interaction they have with your spouse and other divorce professionals. If you bring in a strong arm attorney, they will approach your divorce in a combative, reactive way. If your goal is a peaceful resolution, select a mediator who shares this goal.
Your team also extends to family and friends who are supportive and want to help you through this difficult transition. There is nothing weak about reaching out for help. Like Barbara Streisand sang, "People who need people are the luckiest people in the world."
When assembling your divorce team, consider calling on mediators and CDFPs in the beginning as they can help you sort out your finances while keeping in mind your desire to minimize conflict. After all, while the marriage has ended, the FAMILY continues.
Now that you have your mindset and your "team" in place, choose the divorce option that aligns with your priorities and preserves your assets. It is important to bring about the end the marriage but with a focus on rebuilding your life.
To rebuild financially, you need to take inventory. As a general rule, save logins and passwords, download as many documents as you can find to a flash drive, keep 3-6 months of pay stubs, two years of tax returns, and your most recent retirement and investment account statements.
Order a copy of your credit report. You may be surprised at what it reveals. You may order a FREE copy at annualcreditreport.com
In closing, remember the 4 C's from The ABC’s of Divorce for Women by Ginita Wall and Carol Ann Wilson.
Careful - You are making decisions during divorce that have long lasting consequences. Proceed carefully by asking questions, getting clarification and relying on a team of divorce professionals.
Cognizant - It is easy to want to bury your head in the sand during stressful life transitions, but you need to keep yourself open minded and clear headed during divorce.
Centered - In addition to self-care, being centered means that you are focused on what your post divorce life will look like. Don't allow a petty argument over a household item to derail your mindset.
Courageous - Many spouses, in an effort to lower stress or make their children happy, put their priorities and needs on the back burner. Resist the urge to "go with the flow" and advocate for yourself.
As a reminder, in "The Devil's in the Divorce Details" we have covered:
Click on any of the above segments to view the video and associated blog post.
If you, or someone you know, is contemplating divorce, please share these articles with them. To book a complimentary 20 minute phone call with one of our divorce experts, book here.
Forms include: Asset Worksheet, Household Goods Inventory, Financial Checkup, Priorities Worksheet and Mandatory Financial Disclosures.