- Laura L. Van Tassel, Esq.
SPRING FORWARD IN YOUR LIFE AFTER DIVORCE
Those who have survived it say that divorce can be the worst and the best thing that's ever happened to you. It's tough in the beginning, but eventually you will heal and move on. Not only is it likely that you will survive it but also you can thrive after it. Your life may feel as though it’s been in the dark, shielded from warmth and light; but, just like seasons of time, it is a passing phase that can give way to positive new things. Spring, then is the ideal time to say farewell to the darkness, take matters into your own hands and embrace the coming changes. Spring is here!
SPRING CLEANING TIPS TO SPRING FORWARD:
Clean Out Your Closest In any relationship, often you collect a lot of stuff that reminds you of your ex-partner. Take time to go through your closets and decide what will actually serve you after your recent divorce. Throw away the rest.
Let Go Of Visual Reminders Take down your photos and listen to "your" songs and give yourself the courtesy to grieve the loss. Allow yourself a set grieving period and resolve to move forward after your scheduled time to mourn. Commit to letting go of the negative thoughts after your grieving period ends. Then, put up new photos in their place.
Take and display photos of you in your new life. Taking photos means that this moment is important enough to record and mark. So take photos of your life NOW and display them around your home. It’s an instant reminder for yourself that you matter and your life does too.
Get Reacquainted with Your Personal Preferences When you are part of a couple, many of your choices are made by the other person. You now have space in your life to discard any unwanted habits and welcome activities that will bring you joy. Remind yourself of your preferences by trying new things and relearning what makes you happy. What do you like and dislike? Make a list. Give yourself the freedom to explore.
Organize Your Finances After the divorce, you now hold all the responsibility for your finances. Regardless of your financial role during your marriage, now you must face any fears and manage your accounts. Take time to learn the ins and outs of your debt and credit.
Sell Other Unwanted Items Selling expensive items like clothes or bags can be another way to earn extra money quickly. Remember that this is your chance to start over. Any unwanted items, especially those that remind you of the past or are no longer reflective of who you now are, are just holding you back. So why not get rid of them and make some money in the process?
File Paperwork Away Once you have your final divorce paperwork, file it away where you can’t see it. Just seeing the box of divorce paperwork can bring up emotions. Keep it out of sight until you decide you can safely shred the contents.) Unsure of what to keep? Here’s a great list I’ve found on what divorce documents you need to keep.
Back Up It Up Put a copy of your final divorce decree in a safety deposit box and scan/save a copy to Dropbox. You’ll need copies of the finalized divorce decree to get new health insurance or other benefits. Make sure you have both a hard copy and an electronic backup. Many people use Dropbox, but you could also save it on Google docs, or other cloud-based storage sites. (Don’t just keep a copy on your hard drive.)
Seek Support You are not alone and you don't have to go through this alone. Surround yourself with kind, and caring people. Having a support network around you that can provide guidance, education and advice can make a real difference.
Write A New Will It is extremely important to keep your will updated. As life changes, so do potential beneficiaries and heirs. If you do not keep your last will and testament updated, it may not reflect your wishes given your new circumstances.
Separate Accounts If you and your spouse have any joint accounts, or are co-signors on each other’s credit cards, now is the time to separate those things. If you need to formally divide your retirement accounts – do it now! It doesn’t matter that dealing with all this legal stuff is the LAST thing you want to do. Not dividing your assets or debts immediately after divorce can create a legal and financial disaster later. Plus, putting off dealing with all your “loose ends” only makes you dread dealing with them more. (It also makes it less likely your loose ends will ever get tied up!)
Get A New Bank Account If you’ve got an existing joint bank account with your former spouse, make sure to close that account and open a new account for yourself. It’s time to start building your own financial presence.
Start Your Own Credit Profile Start your own credit profile now as a single person. If you don’t have much of a credit history, get cracking, you’ll need to develop your own financial history.
Change Passwords To All Your Online Accounts Does your ex know your old logins and passwords? If not, he can probably guess them anyway. Why not play it safe and change all your online passwords? Keep track of them in a small notebook you have at home.
Here’s the good news: Those who have survived it say that divorce can be the worst and the best thing that's ever happened to you. Not only is it likely that you will survive it but also you can thrive after it. Many of the individuals I have worked with have come to me wondering how they will ever be able to make it, and then they are amazed at their strength, resourcefulness and resilience. From here on, carry yourself forward toward new possibilities and a brighter future. Spring forward, indeed!
Post Divorce Questions? An Attorney Can Help Even though your divorce is finalized, it may take a while for you to adjust to your new life. After reading through this article, you'll likely want more information about what to do after your divorce is finalized, and you also may have more questions, or need need to adjust your will, alimony, child support, or custody. Your best option is to speak with an experienced divorce law attorney, who can help you make the right decisions.