Divorce in 2022: What Do You Do First?

It’s the start of a new year and if for you, that means starting the process of divorce, you may wonder what you need to do first. Do you talk to your soon-to-be-ex? Find a new place to live? Hire a lawyer? Start selling off assets? Try to safeguard your money? One thing is for sure; you do need to have a plan when it comes to divorce. We can help you get started by sharing steps to take (and in what order) for as easy a transition as possible.

  1. Collect Yourself – Whether a divorce is something you’ve been thinking about for a while or something happened that you don’t think your marriage can come back from, it’s important to go into this as objectively as possible. We aren’t saying to avoid feeling or processing your emotions, rather just to not let them guide you. Divorce involves a litany of decisions and you want to make them based on your best interests not based on how pissed you are.
  2. Educate Yourself – This is two-fold. First, educate yourself on the divorce process (great start so far!) so you know what to expect and to help you avoid any missteps. Second, educate yourself on your financial picture as a couple: earnings, assets, debts, monthly expenses, etc. so you’ll know what you’re dealing with when it comes to dividing everything up. Don’t forget to make copies of those records as well.
  3. Consider Your Options – Ideally, you and your soon-to-be-ex can navigate the divorce amicably, but the process is complex regardless. So, it’s important to consider your options ahead of time whether you choose mediation, hiring a lawyer, or both. Mediation has a number of advantages over litigating a divorce including time and money savings in addition to simply being an easier and much more collaborative approach. However, a mediation-friendly lawyer can be an asset as well in terms of answering legal questions and helping you understand your rights along with reviewing and submitting your divorce agreement to the court.
  4. Look at Logistics – You may think you know how your soon-to-be-ex will respond to the news you want to divorce him or her, but realistically you don’t. That’s why you should think through logistics ahead of that conversation. Do you plan to live in the house together during the divorce, do you want to stay, do you want to live elsewhere? How would you like to handle custody initially? Do you have access to credit and/or savings you can use while finances are worked out? If you’re not currently working, should you start?
  5. Plan The Conversation – This initial conversation will likely be one of the most difficult in the entire divorce. And the way you break the news will likely set the tone from that point forward. Regardless of how you really feel about your soon-to-be-ex now, the more respectful you can be, the better chance you have of the divorce being amicable. If you’re already at the point of divorce, arguing who did what or should have done what will only add fuel to the fire. Rather, stick to the facts as much as possible: your intention to divorce and the reason(s) then vocalize your wishes on what life looks like during and after the process. From that point, you can decide the path forward in terms of mediation or litigation.
  6. Get Your Group Together – By this, we mean to surround yourself with as much support as possible. Not just friends and family either. It can be extremely helpful to join a support group with others who ‘get’ what you’re going through and/or talk to a therapist where you can let all your emotions out and learn how to cope in the healthiest way. The point is that you shouldn’t try to do divorce alone – and you don’t have to!

We’re here to help too with divorce coaching and mediation services that are all virtual for added convenience. For more information, contact our experienced team today to learn more.

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