The circumstances of a divorce are never easy to deal with, but a divorce is also the start of a new chapter.
Whether your move is voluntary or not, the chance to start a new life focused around your own happiness is a silver lining under the storm clouds of a divorce.
Take charge of your next big adventure with these six essential tips for moving after divorce and starting fresh.
6 Tips For Moving After Divorce
Analyze Your Finances
First, consider your financial options. Calculate your new budget and consider all of your expenditures and costs to estimate the type of place you’ll be able to afford and the cities or towns that match your expected income.
Every state has its own state/local tax burden and property values, so it’s important to shop around and do your research.
If the loss of your spouse’s income is creating a financial hardship for you, a move can help you balance your income and your expenses by downsizing from your current home or area.
Balancing your budget allows you to consider the places you can spend less and the ways you might be able to increase your income.
Moving costs should also be considered before you make any concrete plans. If you’re planning on hiring a moving company to help you get to your new home, don’t hesitate to shop around for the best deal.
You can get a ballpark estimate of moving costs by calling around to a few moving companies to compare rates. Don’t forget to factor in your new utility bills as well; these vary by region, climate, and the size of your home or apartment.
Research Your New Town or City
Finding a new place to put down roots is a challenge all by itself, but it can also be a liberating experience. Maybe you’d like to move to a place you always dreamed of living or a familiar place near your friends and family.
Take some time to consider your options, and find a new location that fits your job, financial situation, family needs, and personal preference. A move to just a few towns over can still bring significant and welcome change to your situation without upturning your entire life.
Once you’ve got an estimate of your cost of living, there are other factors to consider. The culture of your new location, your proximity to services like public transportation, crime rates, and public-education quality could all be major factors for your personal happiness, depending on your circumstances.
Describing your ideal environment can help you identify the things you’re looking for in a new city or town. Consider all aspects of your life: your career, your kids, and your lifestyle.
Databases like City-Data provide a wealth of information if you have a location in mind. A database lets you look up tax assessments, public school ratings, and more without leaving your living room.
Look for New Employment
For most people, starting a new life requires a new job. If you’re currently pursuing a career, a move to a new location gives you a reason to dust off your resume and reach for more income or benefits. You’ve gained skills in your old job, and you can leverage your move to take your career to the next level.
If you were dependent on your spouse for income before your divorce, a divorce can mean an anxious time of finding a job and earning a good income.
Take your list of ideal cities for your move, and start job hunting as soon as you can—some companies may offer you a relocation package to help with the move and starting work.
If you’re already retired, don’t discount the benefits of a new career. With your marriage coming to a close, a career in teaching or consulting could give you a renewed sense of purpose and identity in your new location.
Look around in the area you’re planning to move to and see if it offers opportunities for an exciting new gig.
Plan Your Move-In Day
Once you’ve selected your destination, it’s time to actually get there. With the right steps and planning, you can make moving a more manageable and low-stress experience.
If it’s in your budget, consider hiring a full-service moving company. Many companies will carefully pack your belongings for you and move them into your new home.
You’ll have enough on your mind as it is, so hiring a moving company can help you avoid the stress and focus on planning the new life waiting for you on the other side.
If a full-service moving company is out of budget, you can take your time with your move by renting a portable moving container. With a moving container, you can pack slowly and carefully over several weeks or several months.
When you’re ready, a moving service will pick up your container and move it to your new home. You can also rent a storage unit in your new town if your new home doesn’t have space for everything you want to still keep.
Build a New Network
Being alone in a new place is difficult. When you complete your move, focus on establishing a new network of people you can depend on. You might seek to build relationships with your new neighbors and coworkers, or you can connect with family and friends that live nearby.
Try not to spend too much time alone in your new city; it’s important to start getting out there to feel more comfortable in your new environment, even if it means stepping outside your comfort zone.
Ask around in your current network to see if anyone knows somebody near your new home. Often, your existing friends can help introduce you to new people.
Don’t hesitate to try new activities like a sports league, a board game night, or the local bar’s trivia night—you might end up with a new friend or two. Your move is a chance to surround yourself with new people that reinforce the type of life you want for yourself.
Don’t Forget the Details
You have a lot on your mind with a big move and a big relationship change. Don’t lose track of critical details. Create a moving checklist that includes things like measuring furniture, setting up a new postal address, transferring bank accounts, and defrosting your refrigerator.
If necessary, make a physical list for yourself and keep track of each item on a week-by-week basis.
Once you’re established in your new home, it’s time to nest. You can decorate your home to your own vision and create a space for growth and new beginnings.
You may have started in a place of turmoil and loss, but your new life is an affirmation of your strength and resilience. This transition signifies a new adventure, a new lifestyle, and a brand new you.