11 Things That Should Be On Your Divorce Preparation Checklist
By: Robert Porter
Updated November 16, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Wendy Galyen, LCSW, BC-TMH
Divorcing your partner is not something that you should decide to do lightly. This is a big decision, and you want to make sure that it's the right one. If you've tried to save the marriage and know in your gut that it's time to move on, then you have to start preparing for your life after getting divorced. It's very smart to make a divorce preparation checklist to ensure that you'll have all of your ducks in a row. Take a look at the following eleven things that should be on your divorce preparation checklist so that you can start getting ready.
1. Find A New Place To Live
One of the first things to put on your divorce moving out checklist is finding a new place to live. If you're going to be getting divorced, you might not be able to keep living in your current home. Depending on how the divorce process goes, one person will get the house, and the other will need to get a new place. At the very least, it's going to be smart to figure out a temporary living arrangement for yourself once you start the divorce proceedings.
You're also going to need to consider several other factors depending on certain things. For example, if you have children, how can you find a new place to live that won't disrupt your children's lives too much? You'll also need to consider whether or not you can take your pets with you. There is a lot to think about before moving forward, and finding a place that will work might not always be simple.
For many people, the easiest option is going to be turning to family members for help. You might want to discuss what is going on with a trusted family member ahead of going through the divorce process. This will give you someone to turn to when you need help, and you'll be able to figure out if staying with them is possible as a short-term solution. Try to put some thought into this step since it is a very big one.
2. Getting a PO Box
Getting a PO Box might even be a good idea. If you need to get divorce paperwork without your spouse knowing, you'll need a place for the mail to arrive. You can get a PO Box that will allow you to have a safe spot to receive such documents. It can prevent things from happening too soon when you're trying to prepare for what is ahead.
3. Consider Your Children
Your children, assuming you have kids, will be such an important part of this process. You want to help get your kids through this situation without hurting them in any way. The truth is that kids will be very scared and confused when their parents are getting divorced. Some children even blame themselves for their parents getting divorced, which can even cause them to struggle in school.
Think about how you can make the process more bearable for your children. Consider issues such as custody and whether or not you're going to be seeking child support from your spouse. Children and custody issues can make getting divorced a lot more complicated. It's going to be advisable to get professional help so that things will turn out in your favor.
4. Make Sure You Have A Car
You're going to need transportation once you finally leave your spouse. To be ready for that day, you should have access to a car. If you only have one car in the family, then this will not be a good situation. It's smart to try to have your own car so that you won't feel like you're stranded if you leave your spouse.
5. Save Money If Possible
If you have your own source of income, then it is a good idea to save money to have a smooth transition into your new life. Before the divorce is finalized, you might not have the same access to your joint bank account after telling your husband about wanting a divorce. This is why having a certain amount of money tucked away can be so helpful. Try to save as much as you can, but understand that it might not be easy to save money in secret if you live paycheck to paycheck.
6. Hire A Lawyer
Having a lawyer is another important part of the process that you need to pay attention to. If you don't have a lawyer, then you won't be able to expect things to go quite as well as you were hoping. Divorces can be very complicated, and many things need to be considered. If you own a home with your spouse, then you'll need to figure out who gets to keep it. You'll be dividing assets, and you need lawyers who can put you in an advantageous position.
There are people out there who go through divorces without involving lawyers. If you're splitting from your spouse amicably, then it might not be so bad. However, if you're worried enough that you need to make a divorce checklist, then there is a good chance that you're going to need a lawyer. People can get petty when money is involved, and a lot is at stake. Hiring a lawyer is a smart way to protect yourself, and it can also take a lot of the stress off of you.
7. Change Passwords To Important Accounts
It's also going to be smart to go ahead and change the passwords to your important personal accounts. You don't want your spouse to be able to access your email or your social media accounts. Depending on how mad they are about you wanting a divorce, they might decide to do something spiteful toward you. Also, it's simply not smart to allow your spouse to have access to your accounts when you're planning on divorcing them.
Changing your passwords won't take long at all. It's also going to be beneficial to turn on two-step verification so that you'll have to verify things before accessing the account on any device. This can prevent someone from "hacking" or "cracking" your account based on knowing personal information about you. Remember to do this before moving forward.
8. Decide When To Talk To Your Spouse
Of course, you're eventually going to have to tell your spouse that you want a divorce. This is a tricky subject, and you might not have an easy time coming up with the words. Even so, you have to tell your spouse that you want out of the marriage. You should do this when you're close to being ready to move forward with everything else so that you won't be left scrambling trying to figure out what to do.
Many people place this toward the end of a divorce checklist, but it makes sense somewhere near the middle. There is a lot that needs to be done once you've started the divorce process. These aren't going to be easy days, but they might be necessary if your marriage is really that bad. Remember that if you need support while telling your spouse that you want a divorce, you can always bring a family member with you. If you have an abusive spouse, you can even leave the house with authorities' help.
9. Pack Your Belongings
Packing your belongings is another part of the process that isn't going to be easy. It's going to be hard to pack your things without your spouse knowing what is up. That is why it is placed after telling your spouse that you want a divorce. If your spouse is angry or emotional about the impending divorce, then you might need help to get your stuff packed so that you can get out of the house fast.
Telling a family member or trusted friend might be useful so that they can come to assist you. There are also cases where police officers will standby in the home while people are packing their things. This can be arranged if you're worried about your well-being. If you suspect that your spouse is a danger to you in any way, then please do not hesitate to reach out to the appropriate authorities.
10. Focus On Self-Care
You have to ensure that you don't fall apart during this difficult process of getting a divorce. For this reason, you need to spend some time focusing on self-care. This involves eating healthy, and it should also include getting enough exercise. You're going to feel emotionally drained during the divorce process in many ways, but you can feel a bit better by ensuring that you're taking care of yourself. Getting over a divorce will take time, but you can feel better by looking after your health.
11. Change Your Last Name
Getting a name change after divorce is also something that you'll want to consider. Depending on how you feel about things, you might no longer want your ex-spouse's last name, assuming you took their last name in the first place. You'll need to go through the proper channels to revert your name to your maiden name. It isn't too complicated to do, but it might make you feel a lot better once it is finally done. It's like you've finally gone back to being yourself if you've been stuck in a really bad marriage for quite some time.
Online Therapy Is Always There For You
Online therapy is always there for you, too. If you're having a hard time getting through a divorce, then you can count on online therapists to help you feel better. They can work with you to help you get through the emotions that you're experiencing. You'll start to make progress, and you'll always be able to count on these professionals when you need to talk.
Online couples counseling is available as well. This is good for when you want to try one more time to save the marriage. Depending on the severity of your relationship problems, this might be a good way to avoid having to get divorced. If you want to save your marriage, then online couples counseling is a great resource.
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