7 Tips Before Saying ‘I Don’t’
Every January brings a big jump in divorce filings. Whether the holidays highlight huge holes in a marriage or the end of a tax year signals a time to start a fresh financial future, couples on the fence in December seem to agree the New Year is a time for new beginnings.
Barbara Badolato, LCSW and director of mediation services at Divorce Mediation Professionals, offers these 7 tips for couples who choose to part ways in 2016.
1. Spend time getting smart about your financial situation. Learn where the records and statements are kept, and review them. Knowledge is power. This step makes it easier to prepare a realistic budget that will include expenses for two separate households.
2. Cultivate a support system. In addition to finding a therapist, many couples find it helpful to engage the services of a divorce counselor and a divorce financial planner.
3. Research the various methods of getting a divorce. Consider a process that takes your children’s emotional well-being into account. Divorces shouldn’t leave both parties destitute and exhausted. Many couples find mediation a saner, quicker alternative to a contested, adversarial divorce.
4. Discuss with your partner how and when you will tell your children. Ideally, you do it together.
5. Stay focused on looking forward. Using your divorce as an opportunity to right all the wrongs in your marriage, to get revenge for past hurts, will only delay your own healing and your ability to move on.
6. Manage your own expectations. Most times, it will not be possible to sustain the same lifestyle as you did when you were married. Maintaining two separate households is substantially more expensive than maintaining one.
7. Be careful whom you listen to. Well-meaning friends and relatives will be quick to offer unsolicited advice, but they cannot know your specific situation and the information they offer may do more harm than good.