Finally, don’t just pack your bags, load up the kids, and drive away in a car that needs four new tires. The three most important words during divorce are: document, document, document.Before you separate, buy the clothes you’ll need, perform maintenance on the car, and fix the kids’ teeth. Try to obtain copies of all financial records before your divorce begins.
This is your divorce—so take control of the process! Plan for the worst so what actually happens will seem easy by comparison. Prepare for the expense of tuition and books while you get your career on track. Hire an attorney who can give you excellent advice—even if he or she isn’t the most inexpensive.
View your attorney as a paid professional rather than a friend or confidante. Women tend to be supportive and sensitive to the needs of others, to build bridges, and to “make nice.” These tendencies often get in our way during divorce. You have to insist on getting what you need and deserve. If you don’t, you’ll still be able to take care of yourself financially. Use this time of upheaval to start taking control of your life.
When your grief is overwhelming, go home or to a friend’s house, not to your attorney, who is billing you at his normal hourly rate. Even if you hope that you will eventually be able to reconcile with your ex, don’t bend over backwards to make it happen. Vow never to worry in the dark—if you can’t sleep, turn on the light, pick up a pencil and paper, and write down your worries.
Don’t separate until after it arrives, so it will be community property.
Think about Social Security: If you’ve been married nine years, you might want to stick out the last year, so you can collect on your ex’s earnings record.