Divorce: The Pre-Work
So, you've decided that it's time to file. Or maybe your friend has decided to file, and you want to help them out with the basics. First things first, let's consider practical matters.
1. Safety If you are in a toxic relationship, abuse can take many forms. Whether physical, mental / emotional, or physical, consider your safety and create a safety plan for yourself during this tough time. While divorce can be straightforward, there is potential for the process to unravel and unwind into an incredibly draining process. Prepare yourself (plus any children and pets) by planning ahead. When you mention or begin the process of divorce, it's wise to change passwords to any accounts you wish to keep private: Email, Facebook, Tinder (we don't judge). Mix it up and bring a nice long password into the mix. Something inspiring, we've been told, is great: "Iwillsurvivethis" "Thistooshallpass" or other helpful, personal mantras, have helped our clients in the past.
2. Sanity Have you enlisted the supported of folks you trust? Consider lining up or interviewing backup childcare including sitters or services. Take a look at your office's PTO policy, and whether you'll be able to take time off (or a long lunch) for attorney meetings. kMeetup.com is one of many resources for finding others at this state of life. Create a list of friends or family members you trust, and sort out what each one does best (or enjoys most). How can each person help you? If your mom loves to cook, ask her to handle meals for awhile.
3. Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork. You're going to need a binder, a thumb drive, pens, notebooks, and a secure place to keep it all. Our clients are routinely given real calculators - and big ones. Divorce work has a lot of work, even for the clients. You'll be asked to review and describe your financial status and disclose income, asset, debt, retirement, and many more "numbered" accounts. A grand old calculator can make a world of difference (or so our clients have said).
Line up some important new people in your life:
a. Public Notary;
b. Therapist (we've got suggestions);
c. Financial Advisor (again, we've got suggestions - just ask); and, of course