Getting through a divorce is difficult enough as it without having to jump immediately into a completely different stage of your life. In many ways, it would be fairer to have a transition time right after your divorce concludes for you to get your relationships, finances, and emotions into order as you are coming out of a divorce. However, the real world does not afford such opportunities or transitionary phases. Rather, you will be thrown into your post-divorce life immediately.
However, this does not mean that you will not have time to prepare for this transition. On the contrary, while many people believe that a divorce is hectic on a day-to-day basis the reality is that your case likely will not be. Yes, you will have transitions that you need to prepare for throughout the divorce case as you hit certain milestones but for the most part, divorce is spent with many idle days with relatively few days involving a substantial amount of work. These idle days give you plenty of time to think about and plan for your post-divorce life.
What I have found to be true is that for the most part, your circumstances will dictate what your life is like after a divorce. It is a good idea to speak to those people who have been through a divorce to begin to learn what your situation may be like once the dust has settled on your case. Having resources surrounding you to help determine the best possible steps for you to take as your divorce comes to a close is a great advantage. We recommend leaning on your support system not only as you anticipated divorce, process the divorce, and also as you ease into post-divorce life.
With that being said, I would be aware of the advice and perspective that you are gaining as to whether or not it is reasonable to expect that the advice is based in reality and not on their biases and predispositions about you or divorce in general. What ends up happening sometimes is that people who have gone through a divorce tend to exaggerate or embellish but their life was like both during the divorce and after the divorce in terms of good things and bad things. You can almost think about it in terms of a fisherman who tends to embellish or use hyperbole when discussing the size of the fish they just caught or the amount of work it took to reel in the big catch.
As a result, you should be wary of receiving advice from people who have been through a divorce and have an obvious bias against certain aspects. Well, I do not think it is possible to go through a divorce and have no basis at all it is another subject altogether to expect that all good things are all bad things will come about as the result of your divorce. To be sure, your life after the divorce will probably be a mixed bag of both good and bad aspects. Additionally, much like the divorce itself, your post-divorce life will probably be spent with a great deal of idle time where not much of anything happens.
The best advice that I can provide you with regarding your post-divorce life is to be intentional about how you think about your next steps and how you prepare for the future. Without a doubt, you need to have a plan when it comes to determining the next course your life will take once the divorce is finalized. While none of us control every single aspect of our lives in terms of its direction after a major life event it is true that those of us who have a plan tend to do better and tend to accomplish larger goals more readily than folks who more or less wander in and out of my life events without a care in the world.
In today's blog post from Bryan Fagan. I would like to share with you my perspective on what your life may be like after getting a divorce. As with anything having to do with family law I always caution folks to understand that the information I am providing you with is only my perspective on what your life could end up looking like. Your circumstances play a great role in determining how well your divorce went and also what your post-divorce life looks like. As a result, you should be prepared to consider what your life has been like to make changes and prepare for the transition into your post-divorce life.
Begin planning for your post-divorce life before your divorce even begins
The best time to prepare for a potential problem is to do so before the problem even exists. I'm sure you've heard the phrase: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This phrase applies to the world of divorce as it does to anything else. If you can anticipate potential problems in your life and seek to avoid them in the 1st place then you will have much greater success than simply trying to mitigate or alleviate problems that have already arisen.
For example, before you even file for a divorce it is worthwhile to take some steps to prepare for your life in an emotional, relational and financial way. When it comes to your finances now is a great time for you to begin to plan out a post-divorce budget for yourself. You may have been in a household that had multiple incomes. Therefore, not being strict and on a budget may not have been a big deal. However, now that you are getting a divorce your income is likely going to decrease significantly. While your expenditures may also decrease you should still work to get yourself on a budget so you know how to prepare for and deal with the changes in your finances.
Beginning to live on a budget may sound to be intimidating but I can tell you that it is not. What living on a budget allows you to do is have the freedom to know that you have the money available to spend in certain areas. For example, a budget allows you the freedom to spend a certain amount of money each month in optional or discretionary areas after you have ensured that you have the funds to pay for your household essentials like your mortgage, utilities, groceries, and other expenses. The budget ensures that you will not have more months left at the end of your money.
A budget does not need to be something intricate or complicated. Simply sitting down at the end of the month to take into account the next month's income and expenditures is all you have to do. Many of the more computer savvy folks written this blog post may be interested in creating an Excel spreadsheet for your budget period, on the other hand, those of you who may be less computer savvy can simply create a budget on a piece of notebook paper or a legal pad. Becoming intentional about your finances is the most critical aspect of this discussion. A budget forces you to become intentional and helps to take the guesswork out of your financial life after the divorce.
You may find that despite your best efforts you do not have enough income to support your lifestyle. While this can be an extremely intimidating proposition it is better to approach the situation from this perspective rather than coming to this realization by surprise. It may force you out of the routine nature of your employment and pushy towards finding a new job or going back to the completed degree that allows you to better yourself from an educational standpoint and income standpoint. It may have taken you months to figure this out had you not begin the legwork of budgeting.
Doing this analysis before your divorce will also allow you to prepare to figure out whether or not you will need to ask for spousal maintenance or contractual alimony in the divorce. It is much more prudent to know whether or not you need these types of financial assistance before the divorce begins rather than figuring it out after your case. The reason is that you can then spend time negotiating for either of these forms of assistance throughout the case rather than surprising it upon your spouse at the end. She will also not have to constantly amend your petition for divorce to ask for additional forms of assistance.
Working with your children as they transition after the divorce
If you have children then undoubtedly they will be the most important part of your divorce case to you and your family. Parents tend to hold 2 pretty extreme views of their children: that their kids will either be scarred forever because of the divorce or their children are incredibly flexible and able to deal with the challenges of divorce without any issue. From my experience, I would tell you that the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle.
While your children are probably more resilient than you may realize they are also young and impressionable. As a result, your kids may have questions for you throughout the divorce that you can be working with them on. This doesn't mean that you have to let the divorce be the sole point of interest for them throughout their lives during this period but it does mean that you can work with them to confront their concerns and fears to better deal with the many changes that their lives will be undergoing as they transition into my life after the divorce. Something as simple as living in two separate households may be a major concern for your children.
Rather than leave it up to fate or to chance you could work with their children during the divorce to make their post-divorce lives that much more predictable and less chaotic. I recommend to parents that they work with their Co-parent to voice a united front on these issues. It may surprise you to learn that your children want to see you and your spouse come out this subject as a united front. The symbolism of seeing their parents, who are getting a divorce, work together to benefit their lives will not be lost on them.
If your children want to ask you questions about the divorce and that its impact on their lives moving forward then you absolutely should make yourself available to answer those questions. Many parents will do well when it comes to answering these questions because they have strong interpersonal skills and communication skills. On the other hand, you may want to seek out resources or advice from people you have been in your position to help learn how to approach difficult questions from your kids.
Regardless, you should talk to your children and do it's much listening as talking. They may have legitimate concerns about their life after the divorce. This means that you should have legitimate concerns as well. Helping your kids to adjust to living in separate households, not being able to see both of their parents whenever they want, and going through some degree of emotional transition is normal. Remember that they do not have the experience or maturity to be able to guide themselves as you do. As a result, I recommend that you patiently with your children and remember to have some grace with your co-parent as well. That can help you with the relational aspects of your post-divorce life.
Work the divorce until it is over
Another key point to take away from this discussion is that you need to be involved in participate in the divorce until its conclusion. Many people assume that after mediation but their case comes to a close. However, this could not be further from the truth. You need to be sure that your final decree of divorce includes all of the provisions included in the near-mediated settlement agreement. If there is an aspect of the final decree of divorce that does not make sense or requires further consideration then you should voice those concerns. A final decree of divorce that is not clear about expectations for either you or your Co-parent means that the order is not enforceable. In large part then, your divorce will have a lessened impact on your life moving forward.
Another aspect of your case to consider is that you need to be clear with your attorney about what your financial state is with their office as the divorce comes to a close. Many attorneys and people going through divorces are not clear with one another about the state of their case from a financial standpoint. If you still owe your attorney fees after your case then you should talk to him or her about what is owed and how to best pay the bill. You may need to work out additional financing, develop a payment plan or clarify discrepancies in the bill.
The other aspect to think about you're closing weeks of a divorce would be to make sure you understand all aspects of your final orders. When it comes to paying child support, special maintenance, making sure your children have Visitation with you, and things of this nature you can rest assured that there will not be a hotline for you to walk through these subjects after the divorce comes to the close. Therefore, it would do you some good to ask your attorney about any questions on these subjects.
Many people who go through divorce have little understanding of what is expected of them after the case. You may have had you are an attorney and their staff walking with you throughout the process to make sure that you understood and followed the aspects of your temporary orders. Even though your post-divorce life may be similar to your divorce life in this regard you will not have your attorney to ask questions all the time. As a result, you should use the end of your divorce to learn the ends and outs of your divorce order before it is too late.
Whatever your specific circumstances are, you should be prepared for changes in your life that you may not have expected after your divorce comes to a close. This does not mean that your life will be topsy turvy after the divorce but it does mean that some changes to be predicted. The best you and your family can do for yourselves is to prepare for these changes by thinking ahead, taking into account proper planning, and being proactive about working with your children to minimize disruption to your life and theirs immediately after the divorce.
Questions about the material contained in today's blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
if you have any questions about the material contained in today's blog post please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultation six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law as well as about how your family circumstances may change due to the filing of a divorce or child custody case.