The decision that a marriage has run its course, and legal separation or divorce is the only option, is never going to be entirely painless. But recent celebrity breakups have shown a trend towards keeping the split as amicable as possible to help both parties transition into a new phase smoothly.
What should you focus on? Here are 3 important areas.
- Prioritize the children
When parents split a child’s world is turned upside down. So first, work out how you’ll create a united front to explain to them what’s happening.
Agree where they’re going to live, and how they’ll stay in contact with both of you. Make a plan for what will happen on holidays, birthdays, and school events. Share as many plans as possible with them so they won’t have the additional stress of uncertainty, or fear that they’ll lose one of you.
With your spouse, agree on when other family members (eg grandparents) will see them.
Discuss financial provisions and how educational fees will be covered, as well as their medical insurance.
If you’ve previously agreed on certain rules and boundaries (eg screen time, or curfews) ensure that both parties continue to uphold these – any changes should be agreed by both of you.
2. Divide your assets
At this point, it’s advisable to enlist the services of a specialist divorce lawyer to ensure a clear and equitable division of assets.
Perhaps the most important consideration is whether the family home is kept or sold. Will one of you remain living in it? If yes, how will you cover the costs of maintaining two households?
All your joint assets should be taken into account as well as all the debts you have. Work out what property, investments, and savings you have and, using lawyers if necessary, decide how to divide them.
It’s also important to agree who’ll keep smaller, more personal items –wedding presents, family photos, artworks, or even the kitchen knives. It’s surprising how disagreements about who keeps these kinds of items often create more bitterness than the more obvious higher-ticket issues.
When you separate you’ll need to update both your wills to reflect the change, and it’s advisable to let each other know how they’ll be affected.
Finally, don’t forget to take into account the fees related to your divorce. Even when both parties agree to proceed amicably, your attorneys will file proceedings and legal charges can mount up if the settlement is large or complex.
3. Update your information
Once the divorce is finalized, there’s still quite a bit of work to do. To avoid issues in future, agree on who’s going to inform your mortgage lender, and bank credit card provider. The tax office will need to know about your change of circumstance. You’ll need to update your details with home and life insurance companies, as well as pension providers.
As well as informing your children’s school or nursery, and your medical practitioner, emergency contacts and next-of-kin information should also be amended.
Finally, consider a mutually agreed update on shared social media accounts, so your friends and family won’t be conflicted about whose ‘side’ they have to be on. They’ll know you’re behaving like adults
A professional writer with over a decade of incessant writing skills. Her topics of interest and expertise range from health, nutrition and psychology.