When you find yourself on the brink of divorce, you are undoubtedly going to feel overwhelmed at some point. You are probably feeling stressed and emotional because everything in your life is changing. You may be uncertain of what steps to take next. You are likely getting opinions and advice from all directions and are unsure of which counsel you should follow.
Just like every person is different, so is every divorce. Ending any relationship is going to be complicated to one degree or another and will bring along its own unique struggles. However, there are a few pieces of good advice that tend to apply in many divorce cases.
For your children...
If you have children, their welfare is doubtless one of the most important aspects of the divorce for you. A vast number of studies have shown that it's not the divorce itself that damages children, but the negative situations and environment that sometimes come along with it. For this reason, it can be crucial for you and your spouse to set aside your differences long enough to explain the divorce as clearly and openly as possible.
You may need to reassure children about the following:
- That the divorce is not their fault
- That you and your spouse both still love them very much and nothing can change that
- That they will still get to see both parents on a regular and frequent basis
- That they can come to you with any questions or concerns
It can also be important for you to avoid bad-mouthing your ex, especially in front of the children. No matter what your spouse has done to you, you should not forget that he or she will always be a part of your child's life.
For your finances...
Not only is getting a divorce stressful and emotional, but it can be financially tumultuous as well. When it comes to money, assets and property division, some helpful ways to start include:
- Defining what items belonged solely to you before the marriage
- Assessing shared marital assets
- Making a new budget
You may wish to begin by demarcating what items belonged to you before the marriage - be they childhood books or albums you bought in college - and then make sure your spouse acknowledges your ownership. Anything that you or your spouse purchased or obtained during the marriage, however, is usually partly yours. If you feel you cannot discuss these issues directly with your spouse, an attorney can help outline details of property division and can aid with assessing assets like income, retirement funds and bank accounts.
Now is probably a good time to take a hard look at your own income and plan a new budget. You may have to consider cost-cutting measures and avoid major expenses during and even after your divorce, as you may be going from two incomes to one. Or, in the case where you have not had a full-time job up to this point, looking for work is something for which you may need to plan. It can be scary, but remind yourself that you're working toward a brighter future.
You should seek help and support wherever it is offered. It may help to keep your family and friends involved if you can and they are willing, discussing the things that led to your decision. You might also find comfort in talking to a counselor or therapist to work through your feelings. Additionally, you will likely find the legal guidance and representation of an experienced Elgin-area family law attorney valuable as he or she guides you through the stressful process, fights on your behalf and helps you avoid costly legal mistakes.