Life after divorce: Tips for living successfully

What does a divorce mean? Something different for every person that goes through the process. That’s one thing that I can say for certain in having represented many, many clients in divorce cases. If you are embarking on your own divorce story or are about to conclude one, know that thousands of your neighbors here in Southeast Texas have gone through many of the same things you currently are. They’ve made it out of their divorce alive, but whether or not they (or you) will thrive is an entirely different subject altogether.

Will you have to move after your divorce? Will you have to change jobs? Will you be able to see your children as much as you used to? These are all legitimate questions to be asking yourself. Ideally they are questions that you would ask yourself before the divorce has even started so that you can create some goals to work towards during the divorce itself. Regardless, there is no better time than the present to start pondering what life will be like for you after your divorce.

The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan would like to take this opportunity to share with you some of our thoughts on this subject. While there is no one-size-fits-all type prescription for post-divorce success we think these tips will be handy for anyone either going through a divorce or about to conclude one.

Update your email, bank account and other passwords. This may not seem like anything major but from past experiences with clients I can assure you that it is not. Even if you don’t think your ex-spouse had access to or knowledge of your sensitive passwords I would go through your online accounts and update any information that you can. Usernames, passwords, passcodes, PIN numbers, etc. There is no sense in leaving yourself vulnerable to having your identity or finances hijacked in a vulnerable time in your life. Set aside some time to do this as soon as you are able to.

Open a new bank account. While you’re at it, open up a new bank account different from the one you had with your spouse. Do this even if your spouse has been removed from the account. Again- this is a better safe than sorry move. Your ex-spouse still may have checks or bank statements that could allow him or her access to the funds in the account. It is simple enough to cash out the account and transfer the money to a new bank or credit union.

Work with your attorney’s office and retrieve all your files. At any point during your attorney-client relationship you can ask for a copy of your file from your attorney. Your attorney cannot respond that it’s not a good time or that the files are not available. It is your right (at least in Texas) to be able to receive a copy of your file within a reasonable length of time from your having asked for it. Once your attorney has made the copy for you review the paperwork and see if any of the documents need to be re-filed. Looking through the paperwork may cause your memory to be jogged and can help show you other things you need to do in your post-divorce life.

Exercise. I’ve found that with prior clients of ours, either he or she is an exercise fanatic who hits the gym or the jogging trail seven days a week or is someone who shies away from exercise completely. As with anything in life I would advise you find a happy medium.

If you’re someone who already exercises regularly I would suggest that you stick to whatever regimen is beneficial for you from a physical and mental perspective. Definitely don’t use all of your new free time to exercise but use physical activity to lift your spirits and keep yourself healthy.

On the other hand, if you are not much of an exerciser take this time to learn a new sport or activity. Walking is aerobically beneficial and can help to burn calories and improve your overall mood. Being outdoors (even in south Texas) can be a lot of fun. Obviously check with your physician to make sure you are healthy enough to exercise, but for most people I would venture to say that stepping outside your home for a twenty minute walk five times a week would not be too taxing from either a time or body perspective.

Update beneficiaries where applicable. Any discussion of life invariably will lead to a discussion on what would happen in the event of the unforeseeable. If you were to pass away after your divorce would your ex-spouse still be listed as a beneficiary on a life insurance policy or investment account? The last thing you would want after your divorce is to have your ex-spouse receive a substantial amount of benefits or income due to your allowing him or her to remain as the named beneficiary on an account of some sort.

Have a will drafted for you and/or update your will. If you do not have a will you need to have one drafted. It is not expensive or difficult. You may not consider yourself to be wealthy or in need of one but the fact is if you own a home, have money in the bank or have family that depends on you financially it is a smart decision to make. There are many attorneys in our area that can assist with the drafting of a will and are worksheets available online that can assist you as well for minimal cost. Peace of mind and a firm knowledge of what will happen with your assets after your passing are well worth the effort of creating a will.

Questions about life after divorce? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

Thank you for the opportunity to share these pieces of advice for successful post-divorce living. If you have any questions on this or any other subject in family law please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys are available six days a week to meet with you for a free of charge consultation.

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