Now’s a great time to finalize your divorce. Or, at least head in that direction. By getting your divorce on track before summer, you can make any “big” lifestyle changes while your kids are out for the break and you have long sunshine-y days.
So why should you “declutter” your divorce and get it on track? Because one thing that causes anxiety is a divorce that’s stuck – leaving you living in limbo. So, let’s get you moving on to that next, happier, healthier version of yourself.
First: Get resolved. By resolved, I mean you’ve had that insight, that knowingness that this divorce is the right step for you. You may still feel remorse, or guilt, or sadness, but if you know in your gut that divorce is the best path for you and/or your family – you’ve got to move forward.
Next: Stop researching, pondering and overthinking. It’s time for action. As a good friend of mine says, “End it. Move on.” If you are reading this post, I would bet $100 that this is not the first divorce article you’ve read this week (or even today). You’ve probably been obsessively trying to figure out the best path. Mediation? An on-demand, flat-rate legal service like Hello Divorce? Lawyer up? Now’s the time to make the leap. None of these options are mutually exclusive. If one doesn’t work, try another. But: make sure you do it.
If you’re still not sure how to approach your divorce, here’s a tip: stop Googling for advice. Focus instead on reading reliable articles from lawyers, financial professionals and legal professionals with positive reputations who don’t hide the ball. Trustworthy professionals in these fields will do everything in their power to help educate you about the divorce process and how it works in your state. And while it’s good to know (generally) what the process will look like, do not get caught in the rabbit hole of trying to solve for every single problem that “might” come your way (and likely never will). Focus on the now. Don’t overthink “what if”.
Third: Get rid of the stuff that’s holding you back. And by “stuff,” I mean anything in the way of you getting from A to B. A few examples:
- Ditch the emotional baggage. Face your guilt, grief and pain headfirst. A divorce coach can help you process and work through the divorce process, and so can a therapist. (How to choose? Click here.) Another good option to consider is a life coach who can help you focus on, design, and work through a plan to reach personal or professional goals in your next chapter – which can be extremely helpful in turbulent times.
- Face your financial fears. Separation of assets and setting yourself up for a new financial picture post divorce is a big job and can cause a lot of anxiety. Overcome those fears early by getting organized and tidy now. Open a Dropbox, One Drive or Box folder and drop all of your divorce related documents in there. Create subfolders for “kids,” “taxes,” “financials,” “divorce docs (pleadings).” In other words: get rid of the paper. Complete this (free) worksheet to get clear not just on what you have, but what issues will need to be decided and what your respective position is on each.
Then, start a few spreadsheets. Create one spreadsheet (here’s a template), listing all of your assets and debts – both your own and those you still share jointly with your ex. Start another one with your estimated monthly expenses from this point forward. Creating these documents is the hardest part, but start now and it will get easier as you go – and you’ll return to these documents frequently during the process.
- Keep the people who bring you joy. Drop the ones who don’t. Friends, colleagues and family will all have opinions on your ex, and some may get vocal about it. Drop the people who are holding you back, who live in the past, and/or keep bad-mouthing your ex all the time. This is a difficult, emotional process; negative influences can just make it even more difficult. Limit your tribe to people that help you create joy and purpose.
Fourth: Get clear on what you do and don’t need. Divorce is not rocket science, but it sure is complicated and procedural. Even if you have a fairly amicable divorce, it’s a good idea to meet with a lawyer for one or two sessions, just to ensure you are on track and focusing on the correct stuff. Meeting with a lawyer once or twice is not “lawyering up” and you should encourage your ex to do the same. Services like my company, Hello Divorce, offer legal help on demand for a flat-rate (and transparent) fee. In addition to good general advice to help you stay on track, a lawyer can help you navigate all of the various forms and pleadings – many of which you don’t need. Use an expert to help you find the best path to the finish line.
Follow these four steps, and you’ll declutter the path to your next chapter in no time!