Did you wake up today and think to yourself, out of the blue, “I want a divorce.”? Not likely. Often divorce lingers in one’s mind and consumes one’s thoughts more months, even years. Contemplating divorce involves a lengthy process of weighing pros and cons, thinking about life without your spouse, what things will be like for the kids, managing finances, maybe having to go back to work or change jobs to make ends meet on a single income, and many other scenarios. Even once all things have been taken into consideration people sometimes get stuck on bringing it up with their spouse, that alone could take months. Then once they do bring it up, the spouse might convince them to stay and work things out. Months, maybe years later sometimes this cycle begins again.
There are no right or wrong answers when considering how long you should “think” about it before filing for a divorce. Some circumstances beget immediate consideration, while many wish to attempt marriage counseling and other resolutions first. Whatever then length of time that you’ve been considering a divorce, here are some important steps to take before going forward:
- Make copies of federal and state income tax returns from the past five years.
- If you don’t have a credit card in your name, open one up in case of an emergency.
- Establish online access to your joint bank accounts and check the account regularly for any unusual activity, which could include excessive spending or withdrawals.
- If you have a safety deposit box, photograph and inventory the contents.
- Obtain a copy of your credit report to see if you have any liabilities you might be unaware of.
- Obtain a copy of your will and powers of attorney.
- Go for a consultation with a divorce attorney even if you are still unsure if you want a divorce. Knowledge is power.
- Consider seeing a therapist for your own sanity and an unbiased opinion.
- Remember that, “Divorce isn’t such a tragedy… a tragedy is staying in an unhappy marriage, teaching your children the wrong things about love. Nobody ever died of divorce.” – quote by Jennifer Weiner, Author.