Getting divorced is a unique time in your life where there is so much to know that you’ve never faced before. There are a few things that you need to do and prepare for, but often you don’t figure out what they are until you’re in the thick of it. Luckily, we’re here to help.
In an article like this, you might expect to see things like “get your paperwork ready” or “prepare for alimony/spousal support”… but you’ve probably already read this advice a couple of times.
This article is looking at what YOU (yeah, you!) need to do during your divorce to look after yourself and prepare you for the changes to come. Your divorce is about you and so you need to make yourself a priority.
With that said, here are 5 things that you absolutely MUST do if you’re getting divorced in Georgia.
Put together a to-do list
This is point number 1 because really… this needs to be done first! Yeah, I could talk about “be sure that you want to get divorced”, but I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you’ve already thought about that.
Putting together your divorce to-do list or list of goals can allow you to plan out the full divorce process on paper. This can stop you from missing things and give you the chance to prioritize the more important things. Your list is likely to look like this:
- Finish this article – there is a load of useful information here 😉
- Tell family what’s going on (if you haven’t already)
- Book attorney interviews
- Get paperwork ready
- Gather credit card statements
- Collect bills
- Organize mortgage information
- Calculate projections for future costs
- Speak to real estate agents
The most important thing about this list is to be honest. You can’t expect to handle everything and handle it well if you’re not honest with yourself. Do you need to see a therapist? If you do, add it to the list – don’t ignore it and hope it will go away.
Next, prioritize the list; the most important actions with the largest impact go first. Talking to a real estate agent is more important than changing the names on your cell phone plan.
Once you have a list of the things that need to be done and they’re in the right order, you can begin to look at your goals for the divorce in a little more detail.
Set your divorce goals
In my last blog post I discussed not negotiating on principle during divorce. Standing on principle is small picture thinking and can drag out the divorce process. By avoiding this you are stopping yourself from being caught up in the small details. The smaller details may cause problems throughout the process and then end up delaying the divorce by a few months. But by setting goals, you can look at the bigger picture – divorce is about moving on with your life, don’t forget that.
Divorce goals can be set around things like looking to complete the process within a certain time frame (always get an attorney’s input on this to make sure that it’s an achievable and realistic goal), or it could be to walk away with certain assets/alimony. But the goals can (and should) go beyond that. Your goals should include what you want your life to look like, not just what you want to get out of the divorce process.
Your goals should be based on the 5 Fs – family, friends, finance, fitness, and fun.
Family – this could be planning to spend more, better quality time with your kids or your own parents. No cell phone time or other interruptions. (This will also benefit your family and help them through the divorce too!)
Friends – you may have lost contact with some friends throughout your marriage/divorce, and these could be the very people who help you get through it. Arrange a trip to a bar once per week, go running/swimming with a friend, do some art, yoga, or play some video games. Have a reason to see your friends and you will be more likely to stick to those plans.
Finances – this is both about financial management and growing your career. Where do you want your career to be in 12 months? Do you want to build up your savings or to go to Hawaii next summer?
Fitness – this will be both your physical and mental health.
Fun – all the other goals are a bit serious. Now is THE time to start a hobby. This could be rock climbing, painting…anything really. The best way to do this is to carve out some time a couple of times per week to get into your hobby. During this time, turn off your cell phone, cut yourself off from the world, and enjoy your hobby for a few hours.
Need a specific example? Let’s take fitness.
Maybe the stress of your separation has caused you to drink a little more than you wanted to, or you’ve put on a bit of weight. Then have a divorce goal of getting into shape or having a better diet.
So how exactly do you set these goals? Well, don’t just write down “get in shape” because you probably won’t do anything about it. But writing down “join Hyper Gym on Oak street for $40 a month by October 16th, 2020” is a specific goal with a deadline. Studies have shown that this works so much better. You can then take it even further to say that you want to lose 5lbs by Christmas.
Your goals need to be achievable too. Don’t put down “lose 20lbs in 2 months” because that definitely won’t happen without surgery!
Prioritize self-care and preparing for the future.
Your list of goals will feed into this.
Having goals for all 5 Fs will be both preparing for the future and prioritizing your current self-care, but there should also be a real consciousness about this. Your focus does need to be on looking after yourself. Put your own oxygen mask on first, right?
You will change throughout your divorce and in the future, so be ready for this; prepare and prioritize it.
You could do this by hiring a therapist, joining clubs or support groups that can guide you forward, or making time to meditate.
You could also include parts of your self-care planning into your to-do list from the first part of this post. This way you can begin to see the importance of self-care relative to everything else that you have to do. Again, taking the time to have coffee with close friends is more important than your cell phone plan or updating your relationship status on Facebook.
Realizing that you are the center of your own story is the first step towards truly looking after yourself. However, if you haven’t put yourself first for a while, this may not come easily to you. Your divorce lawyer can help you put your legal needs first, but it’s up to you to put your personal needs first.
If you are in need of a divorce attorney who will provide a world class service, and guide you through this process with as little stress and worry as possible, then click here to head over to our contact page and get in touch with Max, the founder of Porchlight, today.
Consider changing your name
So many people walk into their divorce as one person and leave as someone completely different. Their identity was who they were as a spouse. So getting divorced can make them feel that their whole identity is changing. Depending on where you are emotionally, this could be a good thing or a bad thing.
You can use this time to create separation for yourself from the life that you had in your marriage. Alternatively, some may want a bit of continuity in their lives. People may recognize you professionally by your married name, or you might just prefer it. You don’t have to change your name just because you’re getting divorced. There is no right or wrong answer, it’s entirely up to you. You can take control here and choose the name that you want to take when you’re single again.
There are benefits to not changing your name, such as less paperwork and running around changing your name on your passport, checking account, etc., and people who recognize you from your married name can continue to do so. (This can save from awkward conversations on Facebook too!)
But, if you are going to change your name then you will need to think about your credit cards, insurance, ID cards, etc. These can be added to your to-do list. You will also need to declare your change of name in the divorce.
If you are going to change your name, bring this up with your attorney. That being said, my last and final piece of advice is:
Hire an attorney
It may seem obvious to give this piece of advice, but it does need to be said. There are a lot of people out there who are planning on representing themselves/doing the work themselves, but they’re unsure of what is involved.
Hiring a divorce attorney can save you so much time and stress because they are familiar with the process and paperwork; they complete it day in and day out. Plus, if there are any nuances that may trip you up, they’ve probably dealt with those issues before.
Together you and your attorney can come up with a game plan that can be a lot more thorough than it would be if you did this alone. Your attorney can be there to support you and empower you to do what is right for you.
Not just that, but a good divorce attorney can refer you to other professional services, whether you need a good local real estate agent, divorce counsellor, or child therapist. They will be (or at least SHOULD be) connected to a wide array of industries to help you through this part of your life. This can help you with your to-do list, achieving your goals, and taking steps towards your future.
It is possible to represent yourself during a divorce in Georgia, but I do advise against it. You should be spending this time focusing on YOU and YOUR FUTURE. Not on trying to avoid messing up your paperwork.
Thinking about having an uncontested divorce in Georgia? Here are your next steps:
Here at Porchlight, we do things differently; we do not believe that divorce has to be a stressful and emotional time. We will work together to guide you through the process and help you to start your post-divorce life.
If you are getting divorced, then please get in touch with Max, the founder of Porchlight. Complete the contact form on our contact page to schedule a Legal Clarity Session. From there, we can help to connect you with the perfect team to bring you through the divorce and into your new life. We make the legal process easy so you can focus on your future.
You can always call 678-435-9069 and speak to us today about your situation.