Divorces rarely come out of the blue: Some people go through years of turmoil, therapy and fighting. However, that does not always mean people are ready when someone actually files a divorce petition.
If the possibility of divorce is looming, there are some critical steps you can take to prepare.
Create a checklist
Once the divorce process is underway, it can move quickly and become overwhelming. Staying organized can make it easier to stick to your priorities and navigate complicated issues.
One way to do this is to start a checklist. Keep track of your priorities, your main concerns and tasks you will need to do. As this article suggests, to-do items could include changing email and social media passwords, updating your will and getting a P.O. box.
Examine your finances
In many marriages, one person is more familiar with financial matters. If this is not you, you must start getting to know your financial situation.
Start by looking at your bank accounts, tax returns, investment portfolios and loans—review child-related expenses, including child care. Collect medical bills. Retain or make copies of statements and pay stubs. You might also consider working with a financial analyst and an attorney to get a sense of what you may receive in a divorce and how much money you need to support yourself as an individual.
The more familiar you are with your financial situation, the easier it can be to negotiate and secure a fair settlement.
Figure out your support system
Even if you are not ready to talk about divorce, you should still have a support system in place to help you through this difficult time. You might reconnect with old friends and reprioritize time with your family. You might also start distancing yourself from shared or toxic friends who are unlikely to support you in the event of divorce.
You could also work with a therapist or counselor. This could be someone completely new to you, or it could be someone you saw previously with your spouse. Having this type of support during such a stressful event can be valuable for your emotional well-being.
Preparing for a divorce can be challenging. However, getting organized, getting informed, and finding support can allow you to feel more confident and ready to tackle whatever the future holds.