Everything you’ve done in recent months has built up to the moment when the divorce is completed. You’re divorced, the worst is over and now it’s time to embrace the next chapter in your life and your future. You may feel relieved, or the finalization of your divorce may have caused other, unexpected feelings.
Regardless of how you feel about your marriage being officially over, here are some words of wisdom from seasoned divorce attorneys who have seen their clients go through it all.
1. Focus on your kids. If you have children with your ex, now is the time to spend a lot of quality time with them. Reassure them that you love them and that the divorce is not their fault (if they think it is). Not only spend time with them, but encourage them to have open communication with their other parent. Getting along with your ex is in the children’s best interests and it will help minimize the effects of the divorce on them emotionally, and even academically.
2. Focus on yourself. If you’re like most spouses, the divorce affected you emotionally and physically. Now is a great time to start focusing on your health and general well-being, especially if the divorce has you feeling anger, sadness, or resentment. Our advice is to eat right, exercise daily, get plenty of sleep, and focus on doing things that will boost your energy, mood and zest for life. This could mean reading, travelling, going to the mountains, visiting friends and family, taking up a new hobby or falling back in love with an old one.
3. Celebrate how far you’ve come. In recent months, your world was probably turned upside-down. Your living situation, your financial situation, and your facetime with your kids may have changed significantly, but there’s more changes on the horizon. Sit down, celebrate how far you’ve come thus far and realize there’s more in store, but now that you’re single, the future is what you make of it!
4. Follow-up with your divorce attorney. Once the divorce is finalized, your automatic reaction may be to wash your hands of it, but unless your divorce involved zero assets and debts and no children, other issues could arise. Our advice is to follow-up with your lawyer to ensure everything’s been handled. Is child support being paid? Was the marital residence sold and the proceeds split? Was your name removed from your spouse’s auto loan? Have the retirement assets been divided? Is child custody working out according to the agreement, or has it turned out to be impractical?
5. Improve your financial health. This is critical for every divorced spouse. We highly recommend reviewing your post-divorce budget and seeing what needs to be done to improve your financial health. Would you benefit by going back to school? Are you up for a promotion, or are you stuck in a dead-end job? Do you need to cut your living expenses while increasing your income? These are tough questions for some, but they deserve answers and the sooner you act, the better.
Related: Money Advice for Divorcing Spouses