Manage Your Divorce From The Start
No matter who initiates the divorce, no matter whose fault it may be, and no matter how devastated or confused you find yourself — it is still your duty to bring your marriage to a fair and equitable closure. When you married, you made a commitment to manage the partnership. That promise of being an active manager still applies to the divorce process.
First of all, never look at divorce as a simple process just because you are amicable with your spouse or think there isn’t any property worth dividing. Also realize that, while you are taking care of the business aspects of your divorce, you must also take care of yourself.
The key to our divorce advice is that you need to be informed and educated, you need a divorce plan or strategy and you need to become the manager towards your own fair divorce.
Here are some tips to help get you started as the manager of your divorce:
Don’t Fall Apart: Yes, divorce is an extremely emotional time and it’s all too easy to get overwhelmed. But the most important thing to remember is that YOU are the manager of the process. Sitting on the sidelines and watching the lawyers play your game might seem appealing, but the stakes are usually too high for you to be a spectator. Most successful business people have learned the art of balancing the emotional aspects of family and social life while still running a thriving venture. Take that mentality with you and be the active CEO of your divorce process.
Utilize Your Support Network: Balance is another powerful tool in this process. Even as you work to keep the divorce machine running effectively, don’t forget you need emotional support. Utilize friends, family, spiritual advisers and, if needed, a therapist to help you deal with the myriad of feelings that accompany this major change in your life.
Keep Good Files: Don’t wait until lawyers or the court ask for financial and legal documents to start digging through file cabinets and desk drawers. You ARE going to need copies of any documents related to bank accounts, investments, debt, tax returns, etc. Save yourself time and energy by making copies of all these items as soon as divorce seems a possibility. Start a filing system with these documents and continue to keep records of all meetings, phone calls and financial transactions related to your divorce.
Be Knowledgeable: You can’t possibly make wise decisions as the manager of your divorce if you don’t understand the terrain. The library, local bookstores and the World Wide Web provide a wealth of information. Our site contains lots of information and resources to help you in the divorce process. Examine all the options from mediation to arbitration to court trials. Realize that laws differ from state to state and become familiar with the legal precedent where you live.
Manage Your Team: Whether it’s a lawyer, financial adviser or a therapist, you’ll be looking for professionals to join your team. As the active manager of your divorce, it’s your job to build the best team possible within your resources. Research lawyers or advisers carefully. Ask for references. Constantly monitor the effectiveness of your team and have honest discussions at the first sign of problems. When all is said and done, you can’t blame your lawyer, or anyone else, for a poorly run divorce.
Look to the Future: Some days it will seem like the world is ending. The fact remains, there is life after divorce. If the future seems bleak, start drawing a picture of what you’d like life to look like. We’d suggest that you avoid making any drastic decisions about career, relocation or lifestyle in the heat of the divorce process, but certainly let yourself imagine the kind of future that will make you comfortable and happy.