You’re eager to get divorced. You’re happy to be done with what has been an unhappy marriage. It’s time to move on.
It’s fine to feel this way, but don’t get too wrapped up in the excitement or the positive changes you see coming in your life. A lot of times, people feel excited to end their marriages, but then they are completely unprepared for life after divorce. It takes them by surprise.
The key is to plan for six months after the divorce gets finalized. Think about what you want your life to look like half a year or a year from now. Ask yourself what you can do to get there and what steps you can take during the divorce to work for the benefit of this future version of yourself.
Making a budget
One of the most important steps is to make a budget. If you have been living on two incomes for a long time now, you may feel surprised to see what you can afford on just one income. Do you have to sell the house and move into an apartment? Do you need to make significant changes to the way you spend money? Can you afford the debt you already have?
The answers to these questions can help you. For instance, it’s important to remember to divide debts with your spouse, not just assets. If you have children, you may be entitled to child support to help with the costs. If you quit your job to be a stay-at-home parent, you may get spousal support since you expected your partner to support you and now you’re losing that financial base.
Finding your support system
A support system helps tremendously after divorce. You may find that you’re more used to being part of a couple than you realized. Make sure you talk to friends and family members. Find the people who care about you, the people you know will be there for you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or to look for someone when you just need to vent. You don’t have to go through this alone. That support system can help you move seamlessly into the next stage in your life.
Focusing on yourself
It’s important to carry your positive attitude forward. Take an active role in your own development and focus on yourself. Find new hobbies or new friends or even new romantic interests. Do things that excite you, things you never thought you could do during the marriage. Have fun and work toward a productive, fulfilling life, no matter what that looks like to you.
The legal side
Just make sure you understand your rights and your legal options. Take what steps you can to both get through the divorce and to prepare for the next year of your life.