There’s a lot of things to do before filing for a divorce, depending on your situation. There may be nothing that you have to do, but let me tell you about a couple of situations where you really do need to do some pre-planning before a divorce.
Number one is safety concerns. I’ve worked with a lot of people throughout the years who thought everything was going to be fine. Oh, yes, their spouse had some anger management issues or whatever, but they thought everything would be fine, and it wasn’t. You should think about this. Think about how your spouse deals with really upsetting situations, how they’ve dealt with it in the past. Do they become violent? Do they hit things? Do they hit you? Do they hit the kids? Do they scream and yell and make threats? How do people deal with severe stress? You think about that first, and if there have been situations in the past where someone has not dealt well with a stressful situation, then you should plan prior to the divorce what I call a safety plan. Maybe you won’t need it. Great. But better safe than sorry.
One way of preparing for divorce is to think about how you going to present the divorce to the other spouse. Should you do it privately? Not if you have a safety concern. Is it something that you could discuss in public at a coffee shop or a restaurant, because your spouse, although he might get angry at you, wouldn’t do so in public? Maybe. Or maybe it’s a situation where if there’s enough concern that you really don’t have the conversation yourself with the other side; you have them served and you make sure that you and your children are safe prior to that service of process where they find out about the divorce. Maybe you and the children are in a safe place for a period of time until that person has a chance to calm down or you can see what kind of reaction they’re having.
I do this kind of work with people all the time in divorce coaching and pre-planning. We actually come up with a step-by-step plan of exactly what they’re going to do the day that their spouse is going to be served with divorce papers. Sometimes that pre-planning is physical, like I said, not being in the house at all, not having your children in the house at all. Sometimes it’s financial. If you’re in a situation where you feel that your spouse might cut off your credit cards, take all the money out of the bank accounts, essentially punish you for asking for the divorce, you need to pre-plan for that as well.
We have conversations here at this office with people about a step-by-step, like I said, a step-by-step process of exactly how you’re going to protect yourself financially from the moment, maybe even a couple of weeks before the divorce, all the way up to the day of. I don’t think this video is the appropriate place to say what all those steps are because it wouldn’t be the same for you as it would be for someone else. It’s very, very specific to your situation of what you need to do to be safe both physically and financially.
Other preparatory pieces for people that are getting divorced, sometimes they really need that step where someone- when you’re not living together anymore in order to calm everything down or get people used to being apart. A lot of people, their first step is to ask the person, the other spouse, to leave the residence or leave the residence themselves, depending, again, very specific to your situation, and seeing how that goes first before you step into the divorce process.
Other issues can involve lots of financial issues like getting houses ready for sale. I could probably name off ten or fifteen things that people do in preparation for divorce. Needless to say, really what you need to do is come in for a divorce coaching and pre-planning session. At our firm, that’s one of the specific things we do that aren’t done at most firms, with no commitment to you getting divorced at all, I might add. A lot of times people come in for divorce and pre-planning and at the end of it, they decide to really stick it out in the relationship because the divorce and pre-planning session has them realize that they’re not willing to deal with the consequences right now of divorcing.
Suffice to say that a divorce pre-planning and coaching session is a wise choice for, I would say, probably sixty or seventy percent of people that are looking at divorce.