If your gut is telling you that your marriage is on borrowed time, you are right. Don’t ignore it! If you are even thinking that divorce might be in your future– whether it’s you who wants to pull the plug or you suspect your husband might be the one — now is the time to prepare yourself. Knowledge is power and the last thing you want to do is be blindsided by a hasty decision.
If you haven’t yet split, you have the luxury of reading, learning and preparing yourself. Don’t squander this opportunity. Too many times, a split, though one may be considering it for a long time, is hasty and messy. One may leave with almost nothing, including important financial documents. Then getting that info through discovery can be expensive and difficult. Oftentimes leaving the children behind during a move has had negative impact on custody issues. One spouse may cancel health insurance on another, or prevent the spouse moving from getting anything, including their clothes. In my case, my husband threatened to cancel my health insurance if I didn’t get my ass home where I belonged. Thank goodness I didn’t take that threat lying down– I immediately filed a legal separation, which prevented him from carrying through with his threats. If I didn’t know my rights, I could have been in dire condition. Don’t let your failure to prepare be your downfall!
If you have split and are in the divorce process, as long as you haven’t signed that final divorce document, it’s not too late! Research and learn before making any final decisions. It is in your best interest, trust me!
But where to begin? I recently stumbled onto a book that should be REQUIRED reading for anyone even thinking about divorce. If you’re already in the midst of your divorce, it might even be more essential. The book is Divorce Demystified by Henry S. Gornbein, ESQ (www.divorcedemystifiedbook.com) and also available on Amazon.
Here are a few key learnings:
You must do your homework!
Prepare, study, and research. That means research your home– like who is on the title (how many women have I talked to that are unaware that their name isn’t on the title?). If you want to move out, where will you go? If you want to stay and force your husband to move out, how will you do that? Understand your finances. Get copies of bank statements and retirement accounts. If you own a business together, get copies of everything. If you have time on your side, interview several attorneys before selecting one that you feel can best represent you.
Get psychologically strong
Join a support group. There are terrific groups online. Read self help books. Enlist the support of a great therapist. Talk to your ecclesiastical leader. Tell your friends that you trust about your plans. Get sleep. Eat well. Exercise.
Build your support system, including hiring a great attorney
Hire a great attorney. Before selecting one, read reviews of your attorney, interview several, have a check-list of what’s important to you and make sure your attorney fills those requirements. I ended up hiring my husband’s ex-wife’s attorney. She already had a great background on the kind of man my husband was and it helped. She was terrific and knew my case really well. When I finally fled my home, I already knew who I would hire and that saved me critical time and an absolute disaster of finding myself with cancer and a husband who cancelled my health insurance. Thank goodness I acted quickly and decisively. His threats became irrelevant because I knew beforehand what I needed to do.
In the book, Divorce Demystified, Henry Gornbein covers the following essential topics, each in one simple, easy-to-understand chapter:
- A Team Approach To Your Divorce
- Divorce: Not One Size Fits All
- Internet Effect (be careful what you post on any social media site, text, or email!– it can really screw you)
- Navigating Social Media (oh, this is a fun one with lots of peril)
- Choosing An Attorney (picking the wrong one is deadly)
- Before You File
- To File Or Not To File
- Same-Sex Issues
- The First Legal Steps
- Alimony, aka Spousal Support
- Child Support
- Keeping A Journal
- The Children
- The Art Of Discovery
- Property And Debt
- About The Pets
- Domestic Violence
- Here Comes The Judge
- Resolving Your Divorce
- Your Final Papers
Divorce is a legal process and every decision you make will affect your financial and emotional ability to survive this experience intact. I cannot stress this enough– do your homework, do not sit back and think your attorney will take care of it all. You must be an active advocate for yourself– and a knowledgeable on at that. My husband threatened, tried to coerce and bully me, even though we both had attorneys. I finally cut off all contact with him and it was the best decision I ever made. I knew my rights, I was confident in my decisions, and it made all the difference on getting the settlement I deserved versus the settlement my husband thought I deserved. I was honest, truthful and had the law on my side, and I knew it because I did my homework.
As with any big decision or purchase, don’t be lazy. Be an educated consumer. You can do this!