So you either had an ‘aha!’ moment regarding leaving your marriage, or it wasn’t up to you. Maybe you both knew this was not going to get better. Whatever your situation, I’m sharing what I wish I knew before separating a long time ago. FWIW, I left my marriage and it was not an option when that became clear to me.
- I wish I saw a lawyer before I made any moves. Laws are different in different states. DISREGARD if you are in an abusive situation. If you feel unsafe, you need to correct that NOW. If you do feel safe, ask around about divorce attorneys to help you, and to get an intro into what you will be dealing with moving forward. If you have a fairly good relationship with your soon-to-be-ex, look into the collaborative divorce process. This could save you thousands. There are tons of lawyers out there that take part in collaborative divorce. Unfortunately, this route didn’t work for me, but it has worked very well for friends of mine.
- I wish I didn’t have a lot of the expectations about divorce. My friend’s divorce was much different than my own. Not all husbands are going to think about the kids first. Many will try and hurt you emotionally, mentally, and financially as their first priority. If your partner has been this way during arguments, beware and be prepared for this to get much worse through a divorce. Google ‘narcissist’.
- I wish that I had some money saved for myself before I separated, or wish I knew that this would be very stressful at times. If you have a parent or family member or friend that could potentially help you, reach out to them. If you can set aside some funds for you to survive and move along before you part ways, do it.
- I wish I wasn’t always worrying about what everyone else thought of me during the divorce. Especially when it came to asking for what I was entitled to. Ask for what you deserve and what you think is fair. If you have kids, you do what is best for them, and protect yourself in the process. Treat your divorce as a business, and protect yourself and your children above everything.
- I wish I had changed the passwords to my private (not joint) accounts before I announced my intentions to leave the marriage.
- I wish I knew that most of “our” friends would end up being awkward friends and ultimately strangers.I wish I knew that my kids would indeed be alright, and that it depends on your priorities and happiness.
- Finally, I wish that I knew that life would be exponentially better, and never to doubt this.