Things to do Before you Begin a Divorce

Divorce is a transition and like all transitions, certain steps should be taken before you begin this journey. You can reduce anxiety and protect yourself by laying a little preparatory groundwork. The following steps address the practical, physical, and emotional aspects of preparing for divorce. You don’t have to do them all at once. Depending on your situation, you can reduce the stress at this stage of your transition by working these into your normal routine.

Begin with those steps that feel most comfortable to you. For many, the strengthening of friendship and family ties will provide a solid foundation from which to proceed with the rest of the steps. If there’s a trusted friend or relative with whom you can share your plans for separation and divorce, so much the better. But be sure they will honor your confidences.

1. Rent a post office box so you can keep your correspondence private.

2. Make copies of all financial documents you can gain access to including both personal and business records. If records are kept on a computer, copy them to an external drive. If unsure how to do this, contact us for assistance.

3. Open a checking account in your name only.

4. Open your own safe deposit box.

5. Apply for one or more major credit cards in your name only.

6. If you don’t currently participate in a group health plan where you work, begin exploring your options as an independent health insurance policy owner.

7. Reinforce your connections to family and friends. Strong emotional support will be valuable beyond measure in the next few months.

8. Talk with your physician, counselor, and/or clergy about your situation. This can be done now as individual counseling and/or during the separation period as “counseling for closure” with your soon-to-be-ex.

9. Make appointments for medical check ups, have dental work done, and have your glasses updated. You don’t want to run into any new physical problems while you’re in the throes of starting to end your marriage.

10. Begin to assess (or reassess) the job market and brush up on your marketable skills.

11. Make it a point to spend one-on-one time with your children whether they’re 3 or 33.