Research suggests that few life events are as disruptive as divorce, especially when it happens unexpectedly. However, being prepared for divorce – anticipating its beginning and understanding what you can do to help yourself through the process – can make a major difference in terms of how much stress you feel. If you are considering divorce or suspect your spouse may be getting ready to file for divorce, here are five steps you can take to minimize the negative impacts of a divorce on your life.
Understand Your Financial Situation
Many couples have an implicit or explicit arrangement in which one spouse manages the family’s financial affairs. If you are not the spouse who takes care of the money, do everything you can to learn about the specifics of your family’s financial situation. Find out where your bank accounts are located and what the balances are, how much money you owe on your mortgage, car payments, and other loans, and how much you have saved for retirement. Gathering documentation that proves these things is important as well.
Consider Where You Will Live
Do you already have a sense of whether you or your spouse will stay in the marital home? If you are going to be the one moving out, where will you go – and how will you afford to stay there? If you may need to spend some time with a family member or friend, try to have a plan for how long your stay will be, how you can help out while you are there, and what you will need to do to get into your own place.
Understand Illinois Divorce Laws
Knowing what to expect in terms of the law will help you advocate for yourself during divorce negotiations. For example, Illinois courts divide the marital estate fairly, which does not necessarily mean equally. Furthermore, the law requires parents to develop a parenting plan that allocates parenting time and parental responsibilities. If you and your spouse can reach an agreement on property issues, the parenting plan, and other divorce concerns you can minimize litigation costs.
Create a Mental Health Plan
Divorce is a stressful time. Understanding the kind of things that help you relax versus those that tend to trigger even more stress is essential for getting through this period in one piece. Your best bet to coping well and staying functional is to maintain good habits from the get-go: Exercise regularly, eat well, avoid drinking too much, and rely on a network of good friends and family members for support.
Call a Wheaton, IL Divorce Attorney Today
One of the most important elements of planning for divorce is making sure you have a great team of divorce attorneys who understand your needs and preferences in the divorce process. At MKFM Law, we strive to ensure our clients are able to pursue a divorce that closely matches their values, and we work hard to manage the complex legal elements of divorce so you can focus on keeping yourself and your family well. Call 630-665-7300 today.