Have you properly prepared yourself for divorce?

Yesterday, a client confided in me that she did not realize how much her divorce would change her life.  She discussed how moving out of her prior home had impacted her social life, financial stability, and emotional welfare.  Indeed, many people naively conceive divorce as an excision of only one unhealthy relationship, and do not properly consider the impact it has on all arenas of life.  Before initiating a divorce, ask yourself the following questions:

1) If you divided up your household income in two, what would be the figure?  Could you live on only half of your current household income?  Are you willing to reduce the size of your home, the frequency of vacations, the amount you spend shopping, etc?

2) If you are currently unemployed, you will probably need to obtain employment in order to live without your spouse’s income.  Are you able to find new employment?  Are you willing to work outside the home?

3) Are you able to identify all marital assets and locate them?  Do you know the value of your marital home, cars, investment accounts, retirement assets, 529 accounts?

4) If you do not currently handle your household finances, how will you budget and manage the finances once you have your own household?  Do you have a financial planner? 

5) Can you conceptualize how this divorce might impact you and your spouse emotionally?  Are you prepared to co-parent in the wake of your spouse’s initial anger?

6) Can you conceptualize how this divorce might impact you and your spouse socially?  If you both have your closest friends through your son’s soccer team, will you continue to be comfortable socializing with the soccer team parents together?

7) Are you prepared for your in-laws and other friends to initially resent you?

8) Co-parenting can be challenging.  How do you feel about only celebrating Christmas with your children on alternating years?