8 Things People Forget to Do after Divorce
Ending your marriage can overshadow everything else going on in your life. You feel raw from the emotions and overwhelmed by all the legal matters you’ve had to navigate. After the turmoil, you just want to rest your heart, soul, and mind.
But life goes on. Your future is calling. And remembering who you are and what you still need to accomplish is crucial to your mental, physical, and financial well-being.
Your divorce is over, and it’s time to tie up any loose ends you may have forgotten and get to the task of living again.
Free download: Post-Divorce To-Do List
1. Give yourself time to recover
Recovery comes in all forms – and divorce recovery is just as critical as any other kind of recovery.
Even in the best of situations, divorce is a life change that will rock your world. Your entire life has been temporarily upended, and you need to process, forgive, grieve, and consider what you’ll need to create a strong foundation for the future. Take your time. Reviewing and rebuilding will look different for everyone, and it can be a slow and highly personal process.
2. Create a feasible budget
Divorce isn’t just the end of an emotional relationship. It is also the end of a legal relationship with many financial implications.
Going from a two-income household to one that entirely relies on your own financial well-being is scary and can make you feel vulnerable. Creating a workable budget based on your current financial reality is essential so you can understand where you’re beginning financially and how you’re going to live within that framework.
Understand your credit score. Learn to calculate your assets, debt, and net worth. Educate yourself about investments. The more proactive you are in your financial life, the better position you’ll be in going forward.
3. Know that others may be struggling with your change
Your divorce didn’t happen in a vacuum. It may have affected everyone around you, from family to co-workers.
Family members will be supportive or they won’t. Friendships can end. Your boss and co-workers may be looking for it to affect your work. Anyone else who knows you post-divorce may treat you differently depending on their own agenda, their personal feelings about it, or even their ignorance about what to say.
While you can’t be responsible for anyone else’s response to your divorce, understand that they may be struggling in their own way, and it can affect how they show up in your life.
4. Take control of your future dating life
At some point, you may want to consider a new relationship. But jumping into the dating fire too soon can cause you to make decisions for all the wrong reasons.
Divorce can be the perfect relationship teaching tool if you allow it to be. Use this time to take ownership of any behaviors that may have led to the end of your marriage, and consider how you can keep from making the same mistakes in future relationships.
Visualize what you’re looking for in a healthy relationship, and then promise yourself you won’t settle for less. Establish dating rules for yourself and others who come into your life, and learn how to set firm boundaries. While this may rule out a lot of potential partners from your future love life, it’s better to take the time to find the right relationship than it is to waste time on the wrong one.
5. Update your will
Updating your will and revisiting any other estate planning documents may be the last thing on your mind after your divorce, but it’s important.
If you already have a current will and other estate-planning documents, your ex-spouse is probably deeply interwoven in them. Although divorce will revoke some of their rights to your estate, you will now need to reconsider how you want things to be handled in the case of your death or a medical emergency.
You may still want your ex-partner to be the guardian of your kids, but you may not want them to have access to any of your other assets. You’ll also want to revisit your life insurance policy and revise any living trusts, retirement accounts, powers of attorney, or healthcare directives that may name your ex-spouse.
6. Protect your financial security and privacy
You’ve opened new accounts in your own name, but now, you will need to protect those accounts.
Change your email address and any common passwords you’ve used in the past. If you’re concerned about the potential unauthorized use of your name on new accounts by your ex, you can have your credit frozen with each credit agency and unfreeze it for your own use, as necessary.
Set up two-factor authentication that alerts you any time there is activity on a credit card or a bank account to add another layer of security.
7. Consider your physical security
Now that you’re alone, your physical security should be uppermost in your mind.
Install an alarm system where you live. When you go out, tell loved ones where you are and when you’ll be home. When you’re in public, be aware of what’s going on around you. Carry protective devices with you such as pepper spray, a personal alarm, tactical flashlight or laser, or other gear to alert others if you’re in danger. Look in the backseat of your car before you enter.
It may have been a long time since you’ve been single, and the world has changed. Learn how to protect yourself in it.
8. Revisit your social media accounts
You’re living a new reality and creating a new life, but not everyone needs to know what that looks like. During and after your divorce is when you should be most careful with anything you post on social media.
After your divorce, some contacts and “friends” (your ex?) on your social media may still have access to your posts that you prefer they didn’t. Look closely at all your accounts, and delete contacts and make other revisions where it makes sense.
Navigating a divorce can consume your life, and it can be difficult to remember everything you’ll need to address. You may not even know where to begin.
At Hello Divorce, we’re here to support and celebrate your new beginning with insightful resources and professional services, such as divorce coaches who can help guide you forward, step-by-step.
Have questions? Schedule a free 15-minute informational call to learn more.