Make sure that you are finished with the marriage before initiating a divorce: Starting a divorce is a very emotional process and can cause irreparable damage to the marriage if you later decide that you don’t want a divorce.
Change all of your passwords: Make sure that your accounts are protected. Divorces can bring out the worst in people, and you don’t want your spouse interfering with your finances or reading your email.
Get off social media: Your emotions will get the best of you at times, and the last place you want to express yourself is on the internet for the world to see. You also don’t want your spouse keeping track of you from your online posts.
Take enough money to survive and hire legal counsel until you can get into court: Spouses have been known to lock the other person out of financial accounts, rendering them helpless during the divorce process. You need to plan your expenses, and take out enough money to cover those costs until a court can intervene.
Open your own bank account: It’s time to start managing your finances on your own, and you don’t want your spouse spending your hard-earned money.
If you have direct deposit from you employer, make sure to transfer it to your new account: Don’t dissipate your money as it is still considered marital income, but you want to keep your earnings out of your spouse’s hands until the court can determine how to allocate the money.
If you fear retaliation by your spouse, make plans to be elsewhere during the time period the divorce documents are served: Your spouse’s initial reaction to being served divorce documents may not be very pleasant, and the last thing you want to experience is a volatile confrontation.
If your spouse causes harm or threatens harm to you or your children, speak to your attorney about obtaining a protection order: Sometimes the worst will happen, and things can get violent. If this occurs, you may need to seek assistance from the court to keep your spouse away from you.
If you have children, do not talk to them about the court proceedings, and don’t speak negatively about your spouse: A divorce will be difficult for you AND your children. Don’t put them in the middle of it and make it worse. The less they know, the better.
Make a personal inventory of your property, financial accounts, and debts: It’s time to know what you have and what you owe so that you can reach an equitable result. You also need to know what you have so that you will know if something is missing.
Obtain copies of all financial account statements, credit report, utility bills, tax returns, credit card statements, retirement or brokerage accounts, and credit report: The more organized and knowledgeable you are, the better. Unless you have these documents, you won’t have any way of knowing what a fair settlement is.
Take care of yourself, don’t let the divorce consume you: A divorce is never easy, but it really is a short period of time in the grand scheme of life. You can either make this a step towards the future or let it consume you.
Always put the children first: Your children need to be your first priority no matter what. Regardless of how difficult the process becomes, you still have to be the best parent you can be.
Safeguard irreplaceable belongings: People can be cruel and do nasty things during a divorce, and you don’t want to lose the things that mean the most during an outburst.
Don’t engage in bickering with your spouse, it will only complicate things: If you’re getting a divorce, you’re doing it to end the fighting. The only thing you’ll gain is more stress. Additionally, people tend to be resistant to settlement when they have an ax to grind.
You and your spouse still have to parent the children, so build a business relationship with them to do so: If you have children, your spouse isn’t going anywhere soon. You need to start dealing with your spouse like it’s a business so that you can properly parent your children throughout their lives.
The best outcomes come from the parties, not the court. So try and resolve the issues outside of the courtroom: You may despise your spouse, but the court will do what IT sees fit, not what YOU see fit. Try and bury your emotions, listen to your lawyer, and try to reach an agreement. It will save time, money, and frustration.
Don’t lose your cool when your spouse meets someone new: It’s going to happen or it already may have. But your spouse will eventually find someone new and you can’t let that blind you from making good decisions.
Don’t start dating someone new during the divorce: If you’re going through a divorce you need to focus on the divorce, not a new love interest. You can’t meaningfully step into a new relationship when you still have a foot in the old one.
Set up your own cell phone plan: Again, it’s time to start separating your accounts, and you don’t need your spouse checking to see who you’re talking to.
Reconnect with family and friends: You may just want to crawl into a hole, but you need to live your life. Spend time with positive influences in your life that bring you happiness. It’s the first step in moving forward.
Avoid taking any big steps in business or job advancement during the divorce: Increases in your income during a divorce can have drastic consequences in the outcome. Relocation may also throw a kink in your plans for custody and visitation of your children.
Keep a log of any incidents with your spouse that occur during the divorce: It’s easy to forget important things, especially when you feel overwhelmed. The best way to make sure you don’t miss anything is to simply write it down.
Do not use your children to relay message to your spouse: Your marriage is yours, not your children’s; do NOT convey messages through them. The court will look down on this.
This will take time, and it will be emotionally trying. Take a deep breath and remember, the sun will rise in the morning: There are overnight marriages, but no overnight divorces. You need to accept this and understand that each day is step closer to the end.