If there was ever a year when you need a fresh start, 2021 is it! Whether a planned divorce was delayed by the events of 2020 or putting this difficult year behind you means ending your marriage, you need to start 2021 in the right direction. We have compiled this list of 21 of our best tips to help women get what they need out of their divorce.
What You Need to Know When You Are Getting Divorced in 2021
There are almost as many reasons for divorce as there are couples getting divorced each year, but as a divorce lawyer who represents women exclusively, we think all women can benefit from these tips. Before you make another move in your divorce, consider doing the following:
- Envision what you want. You know you are unhappy in your marriage, but do you know what you want instead? Before you do anything drastic, take time to form a realistic plan for life after divorce.
- Get organized. Before discussing divorce with your husband, make sure you know where important documents are, what your options are if you plan to move out, and which assets are a priority for you to keep when property is divided.
- Be honest with yourself about finances. In almost every case, divorced individuals have less money than they had as a couple. Don’t avoid confronting what your financial situation will be after the divorce.
- Form a support system. You will need friends and family members to help you through the process. If you have let relationships go during your marriage, make an effort to reconnect with people you trust.
- Educate yourself about the process. Don’t rely on your ex or even on your own attorney to lead the process. Learn all you can about divorce in California so that you can protect your own interests.
- Decide if you want to stay in the house. Make sure you understand the full cost of keeping the family home and determine if it’s financially possible. If it will be a stretch, is it worth it to stay in the house?
- Make sure you understand your finances. If your husband has managed the family’s finances, you need to gather information about your family’s monthly income, expenses, mortgage payments, debts, credit card balances, and more, while you still have access.
- Don’t be passive. Whether you initiated the divorce and feel guilty, or your husband is leaving you, and you are in shock, it’s important that you speak up for what you want and assert your rights.
- Don’t count on alimony and child support. While you might think that your husband should support you and your children in a way that allows you to maintain your lifestyle, there might not be enough money to do so. You may have to find other sources of income.
- Consider mediation. Even if the split is not amicable, mediation might still be possible. This process can save a lot of time and money.
- Stay off social media. Stop posting about your husband, your marriage, and your extra-marital activities long before you file for divorce.
- Be the bigger person. Do your best to avoid criticisms and petty demands. Focus on your goals and take the high road when conflicts arise.
- Make a plan for telling the children. If at all possible, talk to your husband about how you are going to talk to the kids about the divorce and what you are going to tell them. For their protection, present a united front.
- Avoid fights about the past. Once you have made the decision to end the marriage, there is no reason to keep bringing things up that happened in the past—even if they were egregious. It’s time to move on.
- Find ways to support your children. Tap into resources like counselors, books, divorced friends, camps and programs, and grandparents to ensure that your children have all the emotional support they need during the process.
- Find your own therapist. The time for couple’s therapy has passed. You might think you’re o.k., but being proactive about working with a therapist can help you avoid some of the emotional pitfalls many women experience after divorce.
- Maintain a professional relationship with your spouse. Put aside your anger and other emotions and work hard to keep the lines of communication open. Think of your husband as a colleague that you may not like, but have to work with.
- Consider job training or education. If you are a stay-at-home mom or have been underemployed as you raise kids, make a plan for launching a new career that will allow you to support yourself and your children.
- Be willing to be creative. As 2020 taught us, you never know what’s around the corner. When life throws curveballs, try to have a sense of humor and be willing to find creative solutions.
- Remember that divorce is not the end of the world. Don’t allow yourself to feel like a failure. Think of your divorce as a legal transaction and move on to your new life without guilt or shame.
- Take time to choose the right lawyer for you. Talk to several attorneys before you commit to hiring one. You will have to discuss very personal issues with your attorney, so you want to be sure you have a good rapport with them.
That’s it—some of our best pieces of advice for 2021. We realize that not all of these tips apply in every situation, but the more you plan, organize, and strategize before making drastic moves, the better off you—and more importantly, your children—will be after a divorce.
If you would like to discuss this advice or have questions about the divorce process in California, call our Marin County office today.