Divorce brings a whole slew of life changes. Fortunately, there is help available for those who need it.
Even though the divorce rate in the U.S. is declining, there are still over 700,000 divorces each year. Some are fairly easy splits with no bumps in the road. Others can be long, drawn-out processes that take months to finalize.
One of the biggest problems people going through a divorce face is not knowing what to expect. You likely didn’t get married thinking you’d get divorced later, so most people don’t do their research on getting divorced until it actually happens, which can leave you feeling overwhelmed, confused, and scared. Unfortunately, that’s on top of all of the personal turmoil you’re probably going through.
Thankfully, you don’t have to tackle the divorce process alone. This article will go through a few things you should keep in mind as you move through your divorce. Use some of the advice below to guide you when it comes to your financial and emotional concerns.
Figuring Out Your Finances – Who Gets What?
A common misconception people face when getting a divorce is assuming all finances and assets will be split 50/50. If you can come to an agreement with your spouse about who gets what, that can make things easier. But, that’s not always the case.
Your biggest asset is probably the marital home. You might think that whoever stays in the home will be making the mortgage payments, but it all depends on how you choose to divide your assets. You have to come to an agreement about mortgage liability sooner, rather than later. There are several options to consider, including:
- One spouse holding onto the home as a sole owner
- Selling the home (this will allow for a 50/50 profit split)
- Renting out the house
- A short sale
Depending on the state you live in, a judge can make determinations as to how other assets and finances are split. They will consider factors such as the length of the marriage, the debts of each spouse, and where the children from the marriage will spend the majority of their time.
If you have money or other assets you believe you’re entitled to, you may be disappointed. One mistake you should avoid is thinking any money that was given to you while you were married is only yours. If you received a large lump sum of money (such as an inheritance) during your marriage and put it in a joint bank account, it’s considered a marital asset. As such, it will be divided. If you had put that money in a separate account in your name only, you would get to keep all of it. But, again, most people don’t plan for a divorce throughout their marriage, so they don’t often see the point of keeping extra money in a sole account away from their spouse.
Mistakes like these are easier to avoid when you work with a financial advisor. A financial advisor can give you advice on where to put your money, how to manage it, and what your budget should look like — especially after a divorce.
Getting the Emotional Support You Need
As if worrying about money isn’t enough, perhaps the worst part about going through a divorce is the emotional turmoil it can cause. It doesn’t matter whether you and your spouse agreed to split or it was a big shock; a divorce is a loss, and it’s important to grieve that loss.
Divorce can lead to a variety of emotional and physical health problems, including heart conditions, weakened immune systems, dramatic weight gain or loss, and depression. It can be hard to feel like taking care of yourself when you’re going through such an impactful loss.
The good news? You don’t have to do it alone.
If you’re struggling to either accept or get through the process of a divorce, or you’ve noticed that it’s affecting your kids in a negative way, you might benefit from the help of a mental health professional. Mental health counseling is designed to help you feel supported so you can continue to grow in a positive direction, even through a major life change. Family counseling can provide the same resources, not only helping you through the divorce but helping your kids, too.
If you don’t want to go to a therapist or counselor, be sure to surround yourself with a solid support system. Family and friends are great options who are almost always there when you really need someone to talk to. Additionally, there are support groups for divorced men and women all over the country. Going to one of these groups can help you to share your story with people who might be going through something similar.
Your Future After a Divorce
The biggest question you might be asking yourself after a divorce is “what now?”
If you were married for a long time, it can feel as though you have to find yourself all over again. You have to establish a new identity and take a new path without the person you considered your partner for so long.
Though it can be a little scary at first, this is the perfect time to think about different changes you can make in your life. If you’re staying in the marital home, consider redecorating to really make it your own. Do something special to start caring for yourself, like joining a gym or taking yoga classes. Or, consider a change in your career. Is there something you always wanted to try but never could while you were married? Making changes like these can help you to take the first step to the next chapter of your life.
No matter the circumstances, a divorce is never easy. But, when you have the right resources to get through it, some basic knowledge on how to handle your assets, and the right support system, you can make the most of a fresh start on your own.