By Cara L. Boroda, Esq.
Van Oorschot Law Group PC
Some people view goal setting as a once-a-year exercise, often near January; however, goal setting can occur at any time and may also be driven by monumental life changes. Goal setting is especially helpful when there is a major life event, such as divorce. While one chapter is closing, a new one is about to open, so why not take control and create some goals to empower yourself during this challenging time.
The House. The former family residence usually holds a lot of memories – good and not so good. Besides making a wise financial decision about the house, this is a good time to decide about possibly downsizing, moving to a different neighborhood, or even a different state (assuming you do not have minor children). Where do you see yourself working or retiring? Have you wanted to live near the water, in the mountains or desert? Thinking well beyond the divorce and envisioning your future will help guide your decision now which will directly impact your future.
Work/Education. If you are the spouse that needs to secure work or be retrained, this is a great time to think about what you would really like to do and make goals for accomplishing such. Does this mean you need vocational testing/coaching or additional or new education? If spousal support is being paid to you, it is your responsibility to make reasonable efforts to become self-supporting so take the opportunity while support is being paid to design your future employment and self-sufficiency.
Money. During the divorce, the assets of the marriage will have been divided and distributed. For some, this will be the first time they have managed their own money. For all, the assets now in their control are likely 50% less than before the divorce due to community property rules. Therefore, this is a great time to make goals about the financial future which includes budgeting on how you view money and believe it should be spent, as well as decisions on how to invest and save money. Financial planning with a financial planner whom you choose to work with and manage your post-divorce financial life will allow you to build your financial life as only you like.
Physical/Mental Health. Most people will re-enter the dating world and want to do so with confidence. Considering what you need to engage with the world in a happy and healthy way may involve a new exercise regime, life coaching, therapy, and hobbies. Without the same household duties and decreased time with the children (due to the sharing of custody with the other parent), this allows for increased time and space. What do you want to do for yourself?
Looking beyond the pain and struggles of the divorce is healthy and will likely help the decision-making in the here and now and provide more clarity in the divorce itself. Take time to look forward and set some goals. Divorce is a major life event with a lot of sadness for most, so why not look for the silver lining and be a part of designing your next chapter in life.