(It’s normal to feel divorce overwhelm!)
In this Episode, CEO Erin Levine Discusses:
- Nearly everyone getting a divorce has a moment of panic when they realize they don’t understand the legal system. It’s easy to experience divorce overwhelm – there’s a lot to think through.
- Tips for creating a support system if you don’t have one at the ready.
- How to educate yourself about the divorce process. Information truly is power.
- Finding a divorce process that will work for you. Complete your paperwork with our user-friendly Divorce Navigator, or let Hello Divorce take care of your entire divorce, start to finish.
- What to expect if you learn you need to go to court.
- The last steps you need to take once your divorce gets finalized.
- Securing your retirement post-divorce by filing a QDRO.
Actionable Steps You Can Take Right Now
- Download our 10 Tips for the Self Represented in Family Court.
- Prepare for court by reading our resources, Divorce Court 101 and What to Wear to Court.
- Complete and file your California divorce paperwork with our revolutionary Divorce Navigator.
- Browse options for a DIY divorce or lawyer-assisted divorce through Hello Divorce.
- Follow our post-divorce advice in It’s Over: The Checklist You Need for Your New Beginning
- Learn all you need to know about securing your retirement post-divorce by reading Understanding QDROs: Dividing Retirement Plans in Divorce.
Read the Transcript: Calming Divorce Overwhelm
For today’s topic we’re going to talk about how you can calm your divorce overwhelmed. So, virtually everyone who either decides to get a divorce or their spouse throws it on them has that moment of panic when they realize that they don’t understand the legal system. They don’t know how they are going to go about their divorce, and they want their legal bases covered. If they have children, they want to make sure they’re protected, but really just feel paralyzed in fear. So, this podcast episode is really for the people that are just starting the process and need a little extra support along the way. I always tell people when you are trying to figure out where to start, start with you. Reach out to your support system or even build a new one. It could be as simple as joining a Facebook group for divorcing people or an online support group through DivorceForce or Meetup.
When you’re determining how to do divorce, I have a few tips for you. So, first of all, you’re going to want to take the process step-by-step. You’re going to need to learn to get comfortable in transition, because the process is a marathon, not a sprint. Unless there’s an emergency, virtually nothing happens overnight. It takes a while to get through your divorce, even if it’s uncontested, and so I want you to take it step-by-step. I also want you to take a deep breath and know that you have time to wrap your head around this and get through it in the best way possible.
The next thing that I usually tell people who are feeling overwhelmed is to educate yourself about the divorce process and how it works in your state. If you’re in California, head over to Hello Divorce. You can take a look or download our California divorce flow chart. It breaks down divorce start to finish. Also, check the Hello Divorce site regularly if you live in Texas or Arizona, where we’re going to be launching quite soon. Then I want you to consider your options. There’s so many ways to work through the process. At Hello Divorce, you can use our Divorce Navigator. It’s kind of like a TurboTax for a divorce, where you work through all the forms step-by-step on your own.
We also have “do it for you” options and we have legal coaches on standby, so if you don’t want to lawyer up in the traditional sense of the word, where you pay a big retainer and potentially freak your spouse out, then using a legal coach, either through Hello Divorce with our Levine family law group lawyers or someone in your locale, can be a really great option if your case is mildly contested, uncontested, or you’re working with a mediator. Another great option if you and your spouse expect to have some conflict, but really are determined to work things out on your own, is to use a mediator. A third party, neutral mediator is going to help you with all the issues that might come up in your divorce, kids, support, property and debt division and help you come to a full agreement on all those issues.
A couple of other things that seem to come up for our clients in terms of their overwhelm is whether or not you’ll have to go to court, and my legal answer is it depends. Some States require you to go to court to actually formalize and finalize your divorce, but in those cases, assuming you have a full agreement, it’s really more of a formality, and it’s kind of a pain, in that you have to schedule it, show up for court, wait to be called, and have the judge ask you a bunch of questions, but fortunately it’s not a contentious hearing.
In California and most of the other states, if you have a full agreement or if you’ve been able to get that agreement down on paper and signed, you never have to see the inside of the courtroom. If you have a contentious case, yes, you will likely have to go to court before a judge, but in that case, you will have days, usually weeks, and sometimes months to prepare, so you won’t be walking into a complete unknown. You will understand what the process bill look like before you go, and that should take down some of the overwhelm.
Finally, when your divorce is over and you’re kind of trying to figure out what it is you have to do next, I first want you to breathe, celebrate, reflect, give yourself permission to do what you need to do to mark the end of your chapter and begin your next. Then I want you to double check your loose ends, even if it’s with the lawyer or on your own. You want to make sure that if you want to restore your maiden name, you’ve done it. If you have retirement division terms in your judgment, you’ll want to get your qualified domestic relations order. This is a document separate and aside from your divorce judgment and marital settlement agreement. Then I want you to reassess your finances, so you know exactly where you stand financially and create a new will or trust, so that you can ensure that if, God forbid, something were to happen to you, your assets go to the intended people.
Okay. That’s it for today. I hope I’ve done a good job at reducing some of your divorce overwhelm. I just want to leave you with the fact, a reminder that, again, it’s not going to happen overnight. The information is out there. The resources and support are there, and if you’re having trouble finding it, email me at erin [at] hellodivorce.com, and we’ll help you on the next direction and where to find some really good help. Okay. Keep listening to the podcast for actionable tips to keep your divorce amicable and affordable, and of course to cover all your legal bases, so you are ready for your fresh start. Thanks for joining.