August 23, 2016

Divorce Survival Guide

Well, now that it is official (judge signed off on the divorce papers yesterday), I'm once again a single man.

For those who have never been through a divorce, permit me, if I may, to offer a few suggestions:

First, you need to have prepared in advance for this possibility.  That's not saying that it WILL happen, but it MIGHT, and you won't believe how much it will hit like a ton of bricks.  You won't be able to think straight, so a little pre-planning will save you a bunch of headache.  Get yourself a stash of cash, and have it somewhere you can get to it, but she can't.  Safe deposit box, something like that.  Have $2500 or more if at all possible.  Consider opening a credit card and never use it, just to have that extra spending cushion.  You're going to need to spend money on a bunch of stuff you didn't expect, the least of which is finding a place to live and turning on the electricity and getting a bed to sleep.

I got a one room studio apartment, and spent over $600 to move in -- granted, I have the dogs, so that's an additional move in expense -- and another $100 to turn on internet access and electricity.  Two weeks later was the first of the month, and rent was due.  Another $650 needed.  So now I've got an apartment, but I need to buy a shower curtain, a bath towel, a little 4 cup coffee maker, some plates and utensils to eat, cookware, etc.  You might require a storage unit for some of your things, as I did.  Also, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the cost of the lawyer, which was $1000 up front as a retainer.  I'll get some of that back, but still and all, we're talking $2000+ in the span of a couple weeks.

Speaking of lawyers, you need one.  There's no way around this, you need a lawyer to protect your legal rights and interests.  Speak to your lawyer, be ABSOLUTELY honest, tell them everything.  They can't help you if they don't know the facts.  Once you have a lawyer on retainer, you let them do the talking to opposing counsel.  That's what you're paying for.

When you go to your previous home to collect your personal things (assuming that your wife gets to stay in the house and you had to leave), you WILL take a uniformed, on-duty, police officer with you.  This is why you pay taxes... Get the cop to be there with you, and ask him or her to turn on their body camera if so equipped.  Tell them you just want to get your personal belongings and leave and don't want any trouble.  The officer should communicate that to your spouse.  You will say nothing.  Go in, get your stuff, get out.  Keep your mouth shut other than to say "Thank you for allowing me to collect my belongings."

Speaking of keeping your mouth shut, keep this issue OFF of your social media platforms other than a short, respectful, "My spouse and I are parting ways.  I would thank you for respecting our privacy during this time."  NOTHING MORE.  Any derogatory remarks you make on Facebook, blogs, websites, etc., CAN and WILL be found by opposing counsel if they try hard enough.  I don't care what your "privacy" settings are, they can be found.  So don't do it.

Other things to not do: Don't get in any trouble with the law during the proceedings.  Watch your speed when driving, don't drive even if you've had just one beer, don't give the police any reason at all to issue you a citation.  You need to be a pillar of lawful behavior.

If you have children, the only thing I can say is "Do not ever bad-mouth your spouse in front of them during the proceedings."  Fortunately, mine and I don't have kids together, but I am the child of divorced parents, and lo some 38 years later I can still hear my biological dad and the insulting things he used to say about my mother when I was around.  Might be why I severed all ties to him when I graduated high school.

Lastly, mind your health.  This sucks, no two ways about it, but it does get better.  You should cut back on the booze and be sure to eat properly.  Get some exercise.  Go to the range for recoil therapy.  Take in a movie.  Take the dog to those woods out yonder, let 'em chase rabbits while you walk under the treetop canopy, and just listen to the birds, breathe in the air.  Visit family and friends in the area if you have any.  Cry if you want, it's certainly normal.  But whatever you do, take care of yourself.  Get through today.  Then get some sleep, wake up tomorrow, and get through that day.

In the end, there are really only three words you need to know:

It.
Gets.
Better.

(P.S., L, if you read this, I will always love you.  I'm sorry it turned out like this.)

3 comments:

JR said...

It certainly does get better. Three yrs after mine was final (7 yrs total), I met the man I've been with for the last 15. I don't think I would appreciate him nearly as much had I not been through all that. Best wishes.

Old NFO said...

Yep, you will survive.

Jon said...

Sorry to hear about your divorce. Will pass this advice along to my son, who is probably headed there shortly.