5 New Year’s Resolutions for Spouses Contemplating Divorce
A new year is upon us! Many people take the opportunity to approach life with renewed vigor and discipline via New Year’s resolutions. Have you been fighting to save a doomed marriage? Have you reached your limit but have no idea how to formulate a plan to move forward? We’re here to help.
Many people believe resolutions are made to be broken. Whether you’ve been successful with resolutions in the past or find the tradition to be futile, the act of sitting down, analyzing your situation, and setting goals can help in your divorce-related decision making process.
If you set goals and make efforts to achieve them, you’ll be in a better situation when you separate from your spouse. We’ve developed a list of goals based on our experience in helping parties going through divorce and separation.
1) Move Forward and Don’t Look Back
The road towards divorce is long and arduous. In some cases the process begins simply with one spouse moving from the martial residence and demanding a divorce. More frequently, the journey begins with an ultimatum from one spouse putting the other on notice that if things don’t change they will leave. Very frequently, at least one spouse is opposed to ending a marriage.
Once it becomes obvious that your marriage will end, whether it be in two weeks or two years, it’s time to plan. You know when your marriage is over, whether you want to admit it or not. Don’t wait until the last minute to start planning.
2) Plan for your separation or divorce
Planning for separation is a massive undertaking. The thought of planning can be intimidating and can prevent you from taking action. Have you been in a long-term marriage for so long, you don’t know where to start in planning your post-divorce life? Here are some crucial steps to take in post-separation planning:
Creation of a budget is essential when planning for separation. In addition to the obvious reasons, (calculating how much money you need to live) a budget can help determine your need for spousal support, alimony, and child support. Just reducing expenses to writing tends to be an enlightening experience and is essential to shaping a financial plan going forward.
Gather Financial Documents
Bank statements, tax returns, retirement statements and any other documents reflecting income and assets are necessary in determining property division and support. Gathering these documents before things go south will save you time and money in the long run.
Search for Housing
If you’re the party who is vacating the marital home you will need as much lead time as possible to plan for relocation. Finding a place suitable for you and your children and purchasing essential furnishings can take weeks or months depending on uncontrollable factors. Getting a head start is essential.
Remain cordial with your spouse
In many cases this is easier said than done. However, if it’s at all possible to maintain a cordial relationship with your spouse through the divorce process, the savings can be immense emotionally and economically.
Depression, adjustment disorder, and anxiety are common issues with spouses and their children going through a divorce. Taking preventative mental health care steps if feasible can help you get through the rough times.
3) Refrain from disparaging your ex
Disparagement of your ex-spouse in front of the children can have long-term damaging effects. It can damage the relationship between you, your spouse and your children. Often children are forced to choose sides which can cause long term emotional damage. Furthermore, judges are not fond of parents who involve their children in inflammatory matters related to divorce, such as: a) discussing the nature of pending litigation, b) questioning children about what happens in the other parents home, or c) referring to the other parent in a negative or insulting matter. Despite your feelings, there is nothing to gain by disparaging your spouse in front of the children. Avoid doing it at all costs.
4) Stay Active
Maintaining a regular exercise routine and an active social schedule can help take your mind off of emotional drain associated with divorce and reduce stress. Consider joining a gym or participating in social groups centered around your interest areas as a way to cope and stay motivated.
5) Don’t be afraid of the unknown
Divorcing after a long-term marriage can feel like navigating uncharted territory. Don’t let this uncertainty force you to stay in an unhealthy or unsafe relationship. Being vigorous in your preparation will reduce the fear associated with new challenges and give you the strength needed to move forward.