Going through the process of divorce can take a toll on anyone. No matter how long you’ve been married, or even if you think you’re fine, this process can cause a lot of stress and trauma—not just to the couple involved, but also to their children.
It’s hard to stay on track when you’re going through a divorce, and understandably so—no one gets married thinking that it will eventually end in heartbreak, and it’s a challenge to stay organized when you also have kids to look after during this difficult time.
But there are plenty of steps you can take to get all your ducks in order. At the same time, staying on top of things and being organized might be exactly what you need to keep you moving forward and get your head screwed on straight. Here are some essential tips for staying organized while going through the divorce process.
Prepare a large binder for all your files
Staying organized means you will need the tools to do so, like a large legal binder and some dividers. You need them to keep track of all the legal documents you will need, including affidavits, emails from your legal counsel, your legal bills, proof of payment, transcripts, letters, filed and stamped court orders, and others. Knowing where these documents are at all times will help make the process smoother and easier. It will help you reference documents quickly, and you can keep track of what’s coming up next.
Organize your list of essential contacts
Here is a basic list of essential contacts you need to keep handy:
- Your lawyer or legal team
- Your ex’s lawyer
- Financial advisor
- Estate attorney
- Insurance company and agent
- Others (therapists, marriage counselors, mediators, etc.)
You also need to update your emergency contact as well, especially if it used to be your soon-to-be-ex-spouse. You may not need to if your ex is still a viable emergency contact, but if they are a danger to you and your children, you might want to change that soon, in the off chance that something happens to you.
Mind the financial logistics
To give you an idea of what you may need to watch out for in terms of fees, here is a basic list of what you might have to spend during this process:
- Legal fees
- Child support and alimony
- Moving expenses
- Rent or mortgage for a new place to live in
- Appliances and furniture
Unfortunately, ever since 2018, divorce fees, child support and alimony, and other divorce-related expenses were no longer tax-deductible since the state considers them personal expenses. The good news, however, is that you may be able to claim the Child Tax Credit which can amount to $2,000 per child, especially if your kids are under 17 years of age. If you are still supporting a child that’s over that age limit, you can still file for dependent credit which can amount to $500 per child. Make sure that you’re able to collect whatever tax credit you can throughout this process.
Have legal documents revised
Don’t forget that many of your most important legal documents most likely have your ex’s name peppered on them. Here is a list of documents you need to update as soon as possible:
- Health care proxy
- Your living will
- Last will and testament
- Power of attorney
- Property ownership documents
Call your banks and insurance companies as well, so that you can close whatever joint bank accounts you have. You would also need to update your insurance beneficiaries.
Outsource important processes
Any kind of lawsuit can only commence if the defendant receives a copy of the complaint. In a divorce, prompt and experienced process servers can help you serve the summons, and can also provide other valuable services like surveillance and locating people who are missing. At the same time, these services will help you ensure that all of your documents are intact, that you are notified in real-time about how the service is going, and they will also provide you with an affidavit of service as evidence that your ex received the documents. If you want to make sure that everything goes according to plan and that nothing derails the process, reputable process servers might just be your best bet.
The Bottom Line
Going through a divorce is never easy, no matter how resolved you are about your decision. To help smoothen the process along, do all that you can to keep things in order and to prioritize everything that you need to. Your mental health—and that of your kids—is well worth the effort.