5 Steps to take when Separating
Callum Sutherland - Sep 28, 2023
Take stock of everything that you own separately and together. Collect statements for all accounts, properties, and insurance. Take detailed notes on all possessions and take pictures.
Here are 5 steps you take now that you decided to separate:
- Get control of your or at least understand your emotions. One of the biggest challenges with separation and divorce is emotions getting in the way. When you are blinded by anger and hurt it can cost you a lot of money on lawyers. It also takes a toll on you with high stress levels and if you have children, they feel it. Seeking a professional to help you process the anger, grief, and emotions you are feeling should be a priority. The $1000 spent on therapy can save you $10,000 + in lawyer’s fees. Having the children talk to someone would be a great idea so they have a safe place to let things out. Children internalize and blame themselves and they don’t want to add stress to you and they are already seeing it. It’s a good idea to figure out an outlet for you such as running, walking, yoga, etc. Many of us thought we would never go through divorce and are overwhelmed when it happens.
- Take stock of everything that you own separately and together. Collect statements for all accounts, properties, and insurance. Take detailed notes on all possessions and take pictures. This helps when you start to go through the division of property and the division of finances down the road. It also protects you in case your spouse attempts to hide things.
- You need to set your budget. You've been living on 2 incomes and now you're down to one. Your expenses are going to change and it's probably going to be more expensive. You're likely going to have to reduce your expenses, at least in the beginning. It’s also important to consider during this process how much your legal fees and moving expenses are going to be. Take an honest evaluation of how you think the separation will go. Try to keep your mind away from how you think it should go and focus on the actual behaviors of your spouse.
- Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. What are all the things you looked after during the relationship and what are all the things that you are going to have to learn? I often find it was one person who looked after the finances and now, the other person is at a loss. You must learn how to deal with what you didn’t know and learn how to do it going forward. Start looking for help and partnerships to help you with your weaknesses so that they don't hurt you. Once you're out on your own you need to face what you don’t know and possibly don’t like. Some common partnerships that are needed are therapists, accountants, financial advisors, repair people, and social connections. Often social circles can break down after a separation.
- Start rebuilding your life one piece at a time. There are a lot of different things to do, but all you must do today is just start with one thing no matter how small. Every step you complete will build your confidence. You can move forward, and you can add something else. It doesn't matter where you start as long as you start. Common things to start building up your life again are your living arrangements, making sure all your finances and insurance are updated and in place, starting an emergency fund, a new social circle, etc. You may wonder why I bring up emotions as often as I do. The healthier your emotions are, the better your ability to make objective, educated, and informed decisions that are long-term focused. Retail therapy and eating your emotions are only a short-term fix. I am convinced having healthy emotions can help with a healthy bank account.