10 Divorce Tips to Help You Prepare

10 Tips to Prepare for Divorce

Embarking on a divorce can be overwhelming. Feeling this way is understandable given all of the divorce tips you have probably heard from the people in your life who have gone through a divorce already and what you may have seen on television and in movies. Therefore, what you think you know may scare you. However, with reliable information and preparation, the unknown can quickly become the known, and your outlook can become one of anticipation for a new future — a future you are in control of creating and will find yourself looking forward to with enthusiasm. Unsure where to begin gathering the foundation you need to go through the divorce process with confidence and well-prepared? Consider the following 10 divorce tips to help you prepare. 

1. Enlist support.

The first thing you need to do in preparing for divorce is to tighten your circle of trusted friends and refrain from sharing specifics about your divorce beyond this inner circle. Even if they mean well, advice about divorce from friends, family members, or acquaintances who have gone through a divorce themselves can be misguided in light of your specific circumstances. 

Despite their personal experiences, laypeople lack the expertise of divorce professionals and may not offer impartial guidance. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be there for you. Your inner circle, replete with positive-minded individuals who have your best interests at heart, can offer you valuable emotional support when you need it the most.

Keep in mind that no one is perfect, and someone may say something to upset or offend you. At that point, it will be up to you to ask them to clarify their meaning and, afterward, decide if the advice they offer is advice you want to follow, let alone pay any mind to. People’s tolerance levels and values can vary, which is why you want to talk to those who are skilled, experienced, and educated in divorce for divorce tips.

2. Educate yourself about the divorce process by talking to divorce professionals.

After hiring your own therapist (oxygen mask on first!), consider consulting with a child psychologist or co-parenting coach to facilitate your children’s adjustment to their new circumstances. Despite your deep understanding of your children, navigating divorce is still very much uncharted territory. 

Consequently, at Elise Buie Family Law, we often recommend our favorite professionals to individuals contemplating divorce and can provide you with referrals upon request. These divorce professionals can offer invaluable guidance and divorce tips on anything from how to share the news of your divorce with your children in an age-appropriate manner to the necessary task of helping you understand your current versus future financial needs. 

Our referral list includes the following divorce professionals: 

  • Therapists who are experienced in counseling those going through divorce
  • Co-parenting coaches
  • Divorce coaches
  • Child psychologists
  • Certified divorce lenders
  • Financial advisors
  • Certified divorced financial professionals (CDFPs)

Call our Seattle office today to learn more about how Elise Buie Family Law can provide you with the resources you need to take control of your divorce. 

3. Deal with your emotions. 

Considering the stress you are under and the number of life-altering decisions you face, you may notice yourself behaving in ways that seem unfamiliar, perhaps erratic. This is common. But until you address your emotions in a meaningful way, making sound decisions about your divorce will remain a challenge. This is one of the most important divorce tips there is.  

You are also not alone in feeling this way; your spouse may be having a similar experience. If you initiated the divorce, you are probably further along in the grieving process than they are. When expecting them to behave more reasonably than they might be in the present, it can be a good idea to allow your spouse time to grieve your marriage as well.  

4. Collect important information.

To prepare for your divorce, begin gathering important documents promptly. Banks typically do not retain statements forever, so begin contacting your institutions for copies that go back between three and five years if you don’t already have the statements available to you. 

Running your credit report can likewise be beneficial at this time. Not only will it serve as a reminder of your outstanding debts, but it can also alert you to any potential obligations listed under your name that might have been incurred by your spouse without your knowledge. 

Unfortunately, your spouse may have possessed all of the information they needed to apply for credit in your name, leading to unauthorized transactions. Should this be the case, contact us at our Seattle office about the possibility of freezing your credit as a precautionary measure.

Apart from any exigent situations, the following is a helpful checklist for compiling documents and details that could be relevant to your divorce.

Financial Documents

  • Collect income tax returns spanning the last five years.
  • Secure social security statements.
  • Organize financial records such as bank statements, loan details, and debt records.
  • Gather information on credit card accounts, investment statements, and pension plans.
  • Retrieve employment records and paystubs.

Estate Planning Documents

  • Identify any assets held in trust, including provisions for yourself and your children.
  • Acquire copies of wills, trust agreements, advanced healthcare directives, and powers of attorney.

Asset-Related Documents

  • Document assets brought into the marriage and those acquired during the union.
  • Collect information on the marital home, additional real estate, vehicles, personal property, and investments.

Personal Documents

  • Maintain detailed records regarding your marriage, including dates, previous divorces, and social security numbers.
  • Compile information on life insurance policies, internet history, emails, and texts.

Childcare Documents

  • Safeguard documents pertaining to your children’s finances, education, and identification.
  • Secure bank accounts, school records, birth certificates, adoption records, and passports.
  • Plan for childcare arrangements, custody preferences, and financial responsibilities.

Other Divorce-Related Information

  • Consider specific reasons for divorce, such as infidelity or abuse, and gather relevant evidence.
  • Document any instances of domestic violence or financial misconduct for potential use in court proceedings.

By methodically collecting this information, you can empower yourself and your legal counsel to navigate the divorce process effectively and protect your interests.

5. Prioritize what you want in your divorce. 

Do you want to seek full custody (custody is called residential time in Washington state)? Is retaining the house a feasible option? Are you looking to relocate to be closer to family? Will you be requesting spousal support?

All of these issues can impact the resolution of your divorce. It is also critical to understand that divorce is a negotiation, and you likely won’t get everything you seek. This is why it is helpful to prioritize what issues are of most value to you.  

For example, that could be staying in the marital home. Many individuals wish to keep the family house in their divorce, especially if they have children. While this decision is tightly bound to emotions, it is nonetheless crucial to assess whether you can afford to. 

Keeping the house is only viable if you can manage the financial obligations without your spouse’s involvement. If you are unable to buy out your spouse, refinance your mortgage, or continue making payments on your own, retaining the house won’t be likely. 

A Seattle family law attorney, alongside a certified divorce financial professional, can assist you in reaching a decision that will work for you and your family now and in the future. Contact Elise Buie Family Law today

6. Hold off on filing until you have considered your strategy. 

Though you may be angry or want to get your divorce over with quickly, before initiating divorce proceedings, it is critical to carefully strategize your approach. Opting for a courtroom battle from the outset can lead to extended and costly proceedings

Instead, consider collaborative divorce as a viable alternative. Likewise, aim to resolve your case outside of court, exploring various alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation. It is worth noting that at Elise Buie Family Law, we have attorneys trained in collaborative practice who can assist you through this process.

7. Compartmentalize without thinking too far ahead.

Though it pays to strategize and think about what life after divorce could look like, considering too much too soon or all at once can lead to unnecessary stress and anxiety. The divorce process is a marathon, as these divorce tips should demonstrate, not a sprint, and you want to go through it methodically, step by step. Your family law attorney is there to guide you through this process and educate you along the way so you feel seen and heard.

8. Engage in self-care. 

As you embark on your divorce, you will need both your physical and mental strength. With this in mind, take a moment to schedule a medical checkup, especially if it has been a while since your last visit. 

Next, establish a regular schedule for low-impact exercises, such as weight training at a comfortable level or taking walks. If your sleep cycle isn’t currently regulated, figure out why and adjust your bedtime routine accordingly. Focus on eating nutrient-rich foods. 

All of these efforts fall under the umbrella of self-care and will help to keep you strong and prevent you from getting sick, even when your stress feels unmanageable. A meditation routine can also be effective in lowering cortisol levels.   

9. Focus on your long-term outlook.

The best way to approach your divorce and each of these divorce tips is to set realistic expectations from the beginning. For starters, divorce often entails significant emotional challenges beyond what you might anticipate. Additionally, despite the harsh realities involved, the financial aspects of divorce resemble a business transaction in the end, which can be disheartening for some. But by acknowledging the possibility of these realities from the start and not expecting a swift or inexpensive process, you will find yourself better prepared and well ahead of the game.

To this end, focus your attention on the big picture, even though it may not be crystal clear yet. As mentioned earlier, determine your priorities in the divorce process as early as possible. Then, remain focused on your objectives while striving for inner peace and peace with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, all the while keeping your children’s health and well-being a top priority. 

Finally, think about how you want to live your life. Is it being able to attend your children’s (and grandchildren’s) milestone celebrations with your spouse in the same room, everyone smiling, or is it spending a lifetime arguing over anything and everything, including who is going to spoon broccoli onto your children’s plates? Ask yourself: Is broccoli the hill I want to die on?

10. Find a Seattle divorce lawyer. 

Not all divorce professionals are the same or will offer exactly the same divorce tips, which is why you want to choose a family law attorney who aligns with your objectives and values. One of the most common issues individuals encounter with their legal representation is engaging someone whose approach to divorce diverges from their desired or necessary path. This is where our holistic approach to divorce can be particularly beneficial.

At Elise Buie Family Law, we know that every family and, therefore, every divorce is different. We see the individuals behind the divorce, not onoy the divorce. We see all that divorce means in your life — the loss of past dreams and the creation of new ones. We see you. Call our Seattle office today.

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