Divorces can be one of the most stressful situations in one’s lifetime. When separating from a former significant other, it brings on a great deal of challenges. This is magnified if there is a history of domestic violence in the relationship. Once divorce papers are filed, the steps below can help minimize some of the stressors of going through a difficult divorce.
Steps to Help Protect Your Finances
After a divorce is finalized, you may be left with half of the assets you had beforehand. As big of a hit that this can be to your financial and retirement plan, you can take some steps to help minimize additional financial loss during the divorce. The assistance of a family law attorney in your area can help mediate and navigate clients through this difficult event.
Secure Some Liquid Assets – Before a divorce is finalized it is important to ensure that you have enough liquid assets to cover the costs of a divorce. Legal fees can pile up quickly and if the divorce is contested, the legal fees are likely to increase.
Get Copies of Financial Statements – Get every financial statement possible in writing! If you monitor your finances digitally, ensure that you print off all statements and pertinent information. A vindictive former spouse can change passwords and lock you out of joint checking, saving, brokerage, insurance accounts and more. Once the divorce papers are filed, it’s highly advisable to begin to get your ducks in a row and begin to secure these statements.
Cancel Joint Credit Cards – If you are certain that the marriage will end in divorce it is best to cancel any joint credit cards to ensure that the former spouse does not complete any expensive purchases. In the state of California, debt is viewed as communal so remove the potential for additional debt by cancelling joint credit cards.
Steps to Help Protect Your Physical and Mental Health
Stress can impact your physical and mental health in a number of ways. Stress is a natural response to an event that requires a response or an adjustment. This emotion is completely natural but during difficult situations our bodies can react differently to stressors.
Exercise – Physical activity is one of the best techniques one can use to alleviate stress. Find an activity you enjoy doing and work out the stress. From lifting weights, playing a favorite sport, running, yoga or any other form of activity that gets your heart rate up. There are countless forms of exercise that help alleviate stress so find something that you enjoy and allow the natural endorphins that are released after a workout reduce your stress.
Talk to a Family Member or Friend – A conversation with a close friend or relative can help immensely during a stressful divorce. Find someone you trust and open up about what’s going on. Talking through difficult situations can help reduce stress and that family member or friend can add valuable insight to the situation (especially if they have gone through a divorce or difficult themselves).
Seek Professional Help – If you’ve tried exercising and talking to a family member or friend and are still feeling great deals of stress, anxiety or depression, it might be best to seek professional help. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed to do this. Psychologists can do a great deal of good for one’s mental status and help diagnose any underlying issues. Their Hippocratic oath requires the medical professional to do no harm and the conversations will be held in confidence (with the exception of statements required to be reported by law). Mental health professionals have helped countless individuals going through breakups and divorces.
Steps to Help Protect Children in a Divorce
If children are involved in a marriage their protection should be paramount. However, if there is a history of domestic or child abuse, one needs to be even more adamant when it comes to the protection of children. Below are a few steps that can help a child’s mental and physical safety during a divorce.
Communicate Openly With Children – Tell the children that Mom and Dad will no longer be living together. Every child will deal with this difficult news differently, but it is advisable to be open and honest with children. Cement the idea that both parents will continue to love the child equally and that they will continue to see their parents but the schedule will be different.
Reassurance – Reassure the children involved that they are in no way responsible or liable for what is happening. Console the children as best as possible and reaffirm that they will continue to see their parents and grandparents
Safety – If one of the spouses has a history of domestic violence or substance abuse do not hesitate to call 911. If you ever feel in danger as a result of the other parties actions it is best to seek professional help. If you or your children feel in danger, seek emergency assistance by dialing 911.