While a divorce may feel like an earthquake in many lives—an unpredictable, scary and catastrophic event—having emergency supplies around can help alleviate the shock and trauma of the unexpected.
In a divorce, emergency supplies look a bit different; less tangible, but still invaluable. After a combined 37 years of experience, we’ve created a succinct list of some “survival skills” for those embarking on, or already in the depths, of a divorce proceeding:
- Know Your Worth (And, disclose it, too). A large component of a divorce proceeding is the disclosure of all assets and debts, whether it is believed that the assets and debts are community or separate property. An understanding of your marital estate, where your spouse banks both personally and professionally, and where the assets (or debts) are located (i.e. in safe deposit boxes or in the possession of third parties) will help your lawyer better assess the issues in the case and protect your interests.
- Read, Review and Ask Questions: Your lawyer will be sending you many documents regarding your case including documents regarding assets and debts, correspondence from your spouse’s counsel, and court pleadings. You, as the client, are an invaluable resource for information and strategy. Your lawyer is your teammate and cannot go to bat without your involvement. Read the emails, review the documents, and don’t be afraid or hesitant to ask questions of your lawyer. It is important that you, as the client, understand what is going on. After all, the decisions made during the divorce may have an indelible effect on your life as well as the lives of your children.
- Listen Less to the Peanut Gallery. It is likely that you will know many people who have also gone through a divorce, and those people will have their own divorce stories. Try to listen less to the backseat drivers and surround yourself with trusted advisors, family, and friends who truly have your best interests at heart and know factually your situation and your goals.
- Engage in Self Care. Divorce is not an easy experience, whether you are the party that initiated the divorce, or if you are the party responding to the divorce. Maintaining a clear mind is really important as your divorce journey will include you making significant decisions. Take care of yourself, both physically and mentally. You need to stay strong to weather the storm.
Like an earthquake, the divorce may shake you to your core and rattle your world. But, when armed with the knowledge of the appropriate “survival” skills, a divorce will not break you and you will be able to rebuild your world, hopefully stronger and sturdier, than ever before.