If you're not careful, divorce can lead you right to the poor house. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to successfully divorce without going broke.
Damage control with the ex
During a divorce, it's natural to view your spouse as the enemy. However, this mindset represents a potentially costly mistake - making your ex angry simply makes them likelier to lash out, and it's your wallet that will feel the brunt of that. Instead, think in terms of trying to manage and control any potential drama. The best way to do this is to frame conversations in terms of their needs and values, and make it clear that you still value those things. This can be a crucial factor between an amicable split and a wallet-draining, tabloid-touted fight.
Find your inner peace
It's also natural that you're feeling angry at this time. Divorce is something that completely changes your life. Instead of stressing out about it, which leads to poor emotional decisions and costly battles with your spouse, make a conscious effort to find your inner peace and control your emotions. The word "control" is key there because controlling emotions is not the same as suppressing them. Many people think the key to control is pushing their emotions away and trying to act logically. While that works in theory, the reality is that those suppressed emotions eventually burst out like lava from a volcano. Instead, embrace this three-part process:
- Allow yourself to feel all of the emotions. Don't try to push away the pain and heartbreak.
- Embrace compartmentalization. Acknowledge that there are spaces where you are allowed to openly freak out (your home) and places where you must appear calm and rational (the courtroom).
- Don't be afraid to seek out a professional therapist. Paying for therapy sessions may keep you from paying tons more in a messy divorce.
Get organized as quickly as possible
Once the initial pain of divorce is past, you have a new pain: paperwork. Make sure that you have gathered all of your financial records, sought out the best mediator and determined exactly what your goals are. Having this information already in place can help you begin negotiations. Speaking of negotiations, if you are a parent, you will need to develop a parenting plan. This is one plan that takes two to tango. Never forget that it's easier to work with your spouse on an amicable parenting plan than to pay exorbitant fees to lawyers who will fight over the matter.
Mediation: For when money matters
By far the best divorce decision you can make for your wallet involves hiring a mediator. Mediation makes the entire process go quicker, and it keeps you out of the courtroom (which means no court fees). There will be no costly lawyer fees or ugly courtroom battles, and mediators specialize in making sure both parties are satisfied with the outcome of the divorce.