Developing Your Exit Plan for a Divorce or Separation
Choosing to end your marriage can be one of the hardest and most emotionally charged decisions a person can make. If you've decided to get a divorce, don't act from emotion. Instead, plan your next move to set yourself up right for the future first.
Don't just pack up your bags and walk out the door. It's essential to meet with an attorney who can help you develop an exit plan to help protect your finances, well-being, and safety before you speak to your spouse about separating.
What is a Divorce Exit Plan?
An attorney can help you break down the steps outlining what to do when separating from a spouse. It may sound quite business-like, but that is precisely the point. It's easy to make decisions based on emotion. Still, an exit plan will allow you to make logical decisions that can better ensure an equitable division of assets as well as save you from a long and stressful experience.
It can be much like a football or baseball game. Your coach will consider offense, defense, and how the other team may play. Preparing for all possibilities is critical, especially if there are children at home or if you are experiencing domestic violence.
An exit plan will help ease your mind and answer questions like
- When do I talk to my children?
- How will I determine child support?
- How do we co-parent?
- How do we divide assets and liabilities?
- Where will I live?
- What documents and information should I gather?
- How will I earn enough money to live on?
An exit plan will help you answer all these questions and more.
Tips for Creating an Exit Plan
When you decide to divorce, lessening stress and ensuring your self-sufficiency are key. These tips will help you understand where your thinking needs to turn and what materials to gather for your attorney consultation.
- Make copies of important records and documents such as financial, insurance, and personal information. If you share a computer with your spouse, make private your personal information by changing passwords to non-shared accounts, including your email account. If changing your email password would bring about suspicion, simply create a new email account. If there are emails you want to keep private, forward them to your new email account and then delete them from your old account.
- Itemize your belongings, so things like heirlooms, jewelry, and photos don't get lost in the shuffle.
- Get the advice of an attorney about whether opening up a separate checking account to save up for a move is in your best interest. An attorney can best advise you on what assets are marital and cannot be touched.
- Try not to incur any additional debt.
- Make a projected budget with your attorney.
- If you and your children have health insurance through your spouse's employment, start to research alternative insurance.
- Keep a journal of day-to-day marital and childcare activity, especially if domestic violence or infidelity is involved.
- Plan for your financial health by making sure you stay employed or researching how to gain employment.
- Open a PO box and redirect legal and financial mail to this box.
Plan Your Future
When divorce is your best or only option, you want to make smart choices and maintain your emotional balance. Your exit plan will provide peace of mind and help you feel secure about your future. Also, remember that if children are involved, they will weather the divorce better when you provide them with stability and assurance.
The best remedy to the hardship of divorce is to begin new goals for a bright future. First, think about your interests and what you want to do with your life. Then, instead of just hoping for the best, with legal representation such as the attorneys at Birt Law, you can take control of your future and make sure you are protected.
- Investopia.com - Divorce Survival Guide, https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/093015/divorce-planning-checklist-what-you-need-know.asp
- Marriage.com - Divorce Preparation Checklist, https://www.marriage.com/advice/divorce/divorce-preparation-checklist/
- HelloDivorce.com- How to Plan an Exit Strategy Before Divorce
- UnhappyMarriage.com - Pre-Divorce Checklist
- Creative Planning.com - Pre-Divorce Checklist
- Divorcenet.com - The Essential Divorce Checklist: 10 Steps to Prepare for Your Divorce