BEFORE you tell the world you are getting divorced—there are quite a few things you need to do to make sure you have prepared yourself as much as possible. Do your homework so you will know exactly what you are taking on for both yourself and your family.
A good starting point is deciding who you can talk with about the possibility of asking for a divorce or even separation before you make your final decision and go public. Some suggestions…
Lawyer – You can usually expect a consultation fee for this service. During the consultation, make sure they explain the difference between collaboration, mediation and going to court so that you understand all of your available options.
Therapist – Having one can help you work through the emotional pain and turmoil that can be associated with the decision to separate or divorce. If your final decision is to seek a divorce or separation, remember that your kid’s world will also be turned upside down. Help them work through the changes. Let their school guidance counselor know what is happening and check-in with a therapist for them.
Financial planner/advisor– This individual will look at your entire financial picture. You will need to provide copies of your investment statements, tax returns, retirement accounts, mortgage, credit card statements and bank accounts. You should be aware of how your house and various assets are titled. Are there insurance policies? Are they term or is there a cash value policy? Look at your expenses currently and how are they going to change if you separate. If you have an income, can you live on it? Are you willing to move out if you have to? Do you have a budget?
Your own personal close friends—the select few you can trust to keep your conversations confidential until you are ready to go public with your final decision.
Now, here is the tough one. Who should you not ask for advice about whether or not to get a divorce?
Your parents – there is too much emotional baggage for them to look at the situation impartially.
Your kids – you must avoid putting them in the middle of a situation that forces them to have to choose one parent over the other. Until you reach your final decision, they shouldn’t be part of this conversation.
Friends you both have as a couple – This usually is a very awkward situation because of loyalty issues. It is better for all parties not to involve them.