If divorce were easier, we’d probably see a lot more divorces. In reality, a lot of unhappy couples stay married because they become overwhelmed at the thought of moving, changing all of their utility bills, changing all of their account passwords, changing their health and life insurance policies, updating their estate planning documents, packing boxes, deciding on pet custody, and so on.
In this hectic world, people are so busy that they’ll choose to stay in a bad marriage just because it’s comfortable and what they know. Sound crazy, but it happens all the time.
If you’re dreaming of divorce, you may have the same concerns as most spouses. You may dread the idea of putting your house on the market, changing all of your passwords, changing your insurance, and so on. All of the mundane, tedious tasks can feel overwhelming. If you can relate, we recommend you continue reading. In this article, we give some actionable advice on how to make the initial physical separation from your spouse easier on you.
1. Changing the account passwords.
Whenever someone gets a divorce, it will soon become necessary to change the account passwords so their spouse cannot do anything to the account that could be detrimental. Once the divorce is on the horizon, we recommend changing all of the passwords to your emails, social media accounts, and online accounts. This way, you have control over the accounts and not your spouse.
Even if you anticipate an amicable split, divorce and spouses can be unpredictable. We do not recommend leaving your online account passwords unchanged. Instead, you should immediately dedicate an evening or a couple of hours on the weekend to update all of your account passwords. Spouses can be like loose cannons amid a divorce; don’t take the risk.
2. Respect your spouse’s belongings.
Once you decide to divorce, there is a good chance that someone is going to move out, or perhaps you’ll both move out and move into separate residences. Either way, you will inevitably be dealing with your spouse’s property. From electric trimmers to supplements to artwork, hangers, luggage, and everything in between, you’ll be faced with decisions about your spouse’s “stuff.”
If you find yourself tempted to donate all of your spouse’s property to the Goodwill or burn it in a bonfire or metal trashcan, or give it away to your relatives, please don’t. Instead, treat his or her property with respect, even if it’s just their toothbrush or $30 salon shampoo. Avoid throwing anything out without their permission and instead, pack it up (or have them do it) and treat it with the respect you’d expect him or her to treat your personal property with.
3. Make a to-do list.
When you physically separate from your spouse and go through the motions to become divorced, you’ll be surprised at how many tasks you have to tackle. For example, you may have to change all the utilities so they’re in your name alone, you may have to change your cellphone plan, your Amazon Prime account, your auto insurance, and so on. Our advice is to stay organized and keep a running list so you don’t forget all of the tasks you have to tackle. Each day, prioritize and handle the most important tasks first.
4. Talk to your employer about the divorce.
It can be really tempting not to tell your boss or manager about your divorce because you want privacy or you don’t want him or her to think the divorce will affect your productivity, but it’s wise to at least inform them of the divorce. Your boss should be made aware of it in case you have to take any time off to meet with your attorney, a realtor (if you put your house on the market), attend mediation, meet with your spouse for negotiations, and attend court hearings.
5. Inform your children’s schools.
You should inform your children’s schools about the divorce, and if you have young children, you should let their teachers know what’s going on. This can be helpful when your children are going through a difficult time so their teachers have a better understanding of any changes going on at home. Also, if you have a domestic violence restraining order, be sure to make a copy and give it to your children’s schools so they won’t release your child to the parent named in the restraining order (also called a protective order).
6. Choose a healthy outlet to relieve stress.
Divorce can be the best decision of your life, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t going to be emotional and it’s not going to be stressful. To cope with the stress of divorce, a lot of people turn to food, drugs, alcohol, and smoking or they become depressed and stay in bed. While it’s normal to experience negative emotions during a divorce, it’s not healthy to turn to self-destructive behaviors to “numb the pain.”
If you find yourself searching for a way to cope, our advice is to choose healthy outlets, for example, you can join a gym, find a new exercise activity you love, take yoga, start hiking every day, take up surfing, volunteer at homeless or abused women and children shelter, revamp your diet so it’s healthy, go back to school, etc. The idea is to channel all of that stress and frustration into a healthy distraction that will enrich your life and take your mind off the divorce. It’s a much better alternative to beating your body and mind up by choosing an unhealthy alternative.
Are you ready to file for divorce? For compassionate, but experienced representation, contact Claery & Hammond, LLP today!