Going through a divorce is never going to be easy, even in the most amicable of splits. There will be a lot of stress, it will cost a lot of money, and picking up the pieces again afterwards could be a long process.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that if you know a divorce is the right thing to do you shouldn’t do it just because it’s going to be challenging – staying together when you know it’s the wrong choice is actually a much worse idea, and could make you mentally unwell, not to mention the fact that a bad relationship can cause you to have to put your dreams and goals on hold. So yes, if you need to get a divorce, that’s precisely what you should do.
However, you’ll need to know how to recover once the divorce is finalized. This might seem like the last thing you’ll want to think about when you’re in the midst of a split, but not only is it going to help you in the future, it will also give you something to focus on when things are tough. So with that in mind, here are some things you’ll need to do after a divorce – read through the list, and you can start putting measures in place sooner rather than later, ensuring you can move forward with your life rather than having to live in limbo while you sort everything out.
Finalize Legal Proceedings
There are a few different steps that have to come together to make a divorce happen, and if just one of those steps is missed out or not completed, you might think you’re divorced when in fact you’re still married. Clearly that can cause a lot of issues further down the line, especially if you want to get remarried (but it can also cause issues when it comes to custody, payments, and more).
So, you’ll need to make sure that all legal matters are completed and there’s nothing outstanding. Check about the division of your assets, alimony, and any child custody arrangements that might be in place, and check with your divorce lawyer to ensure that all loose ends are tidied up and dealt with. The last thing you’ll want is to try to have a clean break only to find you’re still connected to your spouse in some way – it can be both mentally and financially draining to have to go back and start all over further down the line.
Update Your Personal Information
Once your divorce is finalized, it’s vital that you look at all your personal information and update anything that needs to be changed – the sooner you can do this the better as it saves any confusion, plus it can also be a relief to make these changes, and it can be rather therapeutic in the end.
So, what do we mean when we say you have to update your personal information? Well, it’s going to depend on a few things. After all, if you changed your name when you got married, you might decide to change it back again, so anything with your married name on it will need to be amended. It could be that you’re moving out of the home you shared with your spouse, so you’ll need to update your address and possibly your phone number. Or perhaps there are some documents that contain information about you being married (financial documents might include this, for example), which you’ll need to update as well.
As we said, it’s going to depend on what you changed when you got married as to what you might need to change back now you’re divorced, and although it might seem like a lot of paperwork, it’s (sometimes) a legal necessity and (often) a good way to start fresh.
Assess Your Finances
After a divorce, money is going to be something you definitely need to think about. Divorce is not cheap, so you’ll already have spent a decent amount on going through the process, and that in itself is going to make things potentially tight, at least for the short term. Because of that, you might need to look at your spending and cut back for a while, and consider how to repay your debts in the best way you can, getting them out of the way quickly to give you as much ‘spare money’ as possible.
Not only that, but your future finances could be more difficult now that you’re divorced as well. If you shared a lot of your outgoings with your spouse, working out how to pay for yourself now is going to be hard but absolutely vital. Speaking to a financial advisor isn’t a bad idea, or chatting to your bank about how to manage various payments could work well.
This could also be the time when you need to consider a new career or a different job that pays better. Even if you like your current job, if it’s not paying enough to help you live comfortably, you may need to make a difficult decision about what to do next.
Whether or not your personal finances need shaking up, you’ll definitely need to separate your money from your ex’s, so make sure you close down any joint bank accounts, credit cards, and loans, and keep your lenders abreast of the situation so they know where they stand and can offer advice and guidance if need be.
Rewrite Your Will
Did you know that just because you’re divorced, that doesn’t automatically mean your ex-spouse won’t be a beneficiary of your estate when you pass away? The fact is that if they’re named in your will and you don’t make any changes after your divorce, they’ll get a share of your estate if you die first – you literally wrote it down, so that’s legally what will happen.
Not only that, but if you remarry, that cancels out any previous wills, and although that would mean your new spouse would be left your estate, and that’s often what people want, what if it’s not? What if you want your ex to have at least a little something? What about your children? They need to be included (assuming that’s what you want) as well. All in all, not making an effort to update your will after a divorce – and again after you remarry if you need to – can lead to all kinds of problems in the future, and just because you won’t be there to have to deal with them, the rest of your family certainly will!
The best thing to do if you want to make sure you’re doing the right thing when it comes to rewriting your will after a divorce is to speak to a professional estate planning expert. They’ll be able to check things over and ensure that your entire estate is covered. No matter what financial situation you might be in or how many assets you might need to include in your will, it’s vital you don’t miss anything, which is why expert help is so important.
Get Emotional Support
Don’t forget that a divorce is sure to take an emotional toll on your mental health, and it could affect you more deeply than you realize, even if you were the one who wanted the split in the first place. Whether you’ve been married for a few months or decades, a divorce is always going to dredge up plenty of emotions and the dreaded ‘what if’ question, and although it’s inevitable, none of it is helpful.
It’s so easy to forget that you’ll be feeling sad, bad, angry, relieved, guilty, and much more when you’ve got so many other things to deal with, and in some cases, the fact that you’ve given yourself a lot of other tasks to do (at least of which will be on this list) will mean you don’t even really register your feelings and the mental health problems the whole thing is causing for you until the dust has settled and you’re able to assess things without any distractions. It can be rather a shock to realize that everything’s changed, and you’re left to pick up at least some of the pieces.
That’s why you need to get emotional support after a divorce. It’s a good idea to connect with as many friends and family as you can, and all you need them to do is listen to you if you feel you want to talk about things. They certainly don’t have to offer you any advice (although that can be useful at times), so they don’t need to worry about it – they just have to be there for you. If you don’t want to talk to people you’re close to, you might prefer to find a support group instead. Here you’ll come across people who’ve been through a similar process to you and who understand how you feel – or close enough to it, at least. Then there’s professional counseling, which can help you look at things more objectively and start you on the road to the rest of your life. No matter which option you take – or even if you decide to try more than one – it’s a great step forward and far better than trying to handle everything yourself.