If you’re seriously considering divorce or have already decided to but just aren’t sure when to tell your spouse, you’re not alone. There is a swell of people who make arrive at that conclusion around this time year. Maybe it’s the pressure of the holidays or end-of-year business dealings. For some, it might be that with another semester for the kids done you realize, things just aren’t getting any better. Whatever your reason, now is the time to be very careful in how you proceed.
No one takes divorce lightly. It’s a big deal. Usually, one person has decided that this is what they want, and the other person has to accept it, adjust, and go along with it somehow, even if they really don’t want it. If you’re the one who has decided the relationship is over and you’re moving toward a split, I encourage you to do a couple of things first.
1. Review your finances
Now is the time to really look at what you have in terms of income, assets and debt. It is always more expensive to live alone than with another wage earner. Will you be able to afford a mortgage or rent on your own? What about utilities, car insurance, health insurance, etc. And don’t forget about child support. If you are the higher earner and will have the children less of the time you will most likely pay some amount to your ex to support the kids.
Do you have savings or investments? If so, realize that you will be sharing any marital amounts with your soon-to-be ex. It may not be 50/50 but it’ll probably be close. The same goes for debt. Think credit cards, taxes, furniture store, homeowner’s association dues, etc.
2. Think about the kids
How will you each spend time with the kids in a way that is least disruptive for them? Children, like adults, like consistency. They need something they can count on, especially with a big change like divorce. Try to think realistically about what your role in parenting has been and what it might be. This might be a great opportunity for you to have more of an active role or your work schedule might not allow that. Give yourself time to consider the realities and possibilities.
3. Consider your spouse’s feelings
You’re probably real tired of thinking about your spouse’s feelings because you’ve been walking on eggshells forever or you’re sick of the anger or isolation. Whatever has been going on between the two of you is about to get more intense. You can help mitigate it by thinking ahead about what they might feel or how they might react. If it’s going to come as a complete surprise, then try to be patient as they process the whole idea. You don’t have to wait forever but by giving them some time to get used to the idea will go a long way toward their cooperation when it comes to negotiation.
Divorce is never easy but if you take your time to research finances and try to consider the potential outcomes and consequences, it will go much more smoothly than if you try to ram it through.