Studies show that divorce can harm your health. About 10-15% of people struggle substantially with the lost relationship, and the experience creates a 23% higher death rate.
On average, a divorce is more stressful than going to jail, and only slightly less stressful than losing a spouse to death.
Controlling an impending divorce is very important to protecting your health and well being, so here are some steps you can take to reduce the stress of the experience.
Know where you will live
One of the hardest parts of getting divorced is figuring out where to live.
The law in many states requires couples to live separately for a period of time before they can be awarded a final divorce decree. Suddenly having to pay for two households can be very hard for a couple that is in the process of getting divorced.
You may need to find a cheap or free place to stay, or you may want to fight to stay in the house while your spouse finds a new place to live.
Get a lawyer, probably
Divorce can be a complicated process, and in a perfect world, it would be useful to have an expert lawyer helping you and looking out for your interests. That does not always make sense, though.
Survey data shows that 34% of Americans have no money in savings, while another 35% have less than $1,000.
A couple in that type of financial situation is often struggling to make ends meet, and it probably makes no sense for each spouse to hire their own lawyer to fight over the couple’s meager assets.
Couples with few assets should find more cost-effective means of dealing with their impending divorce. They could potentially share a lawyer that will help mediate a settlement and then get it finalized in court.
In some situations, a couple could even handle the divorce paperwork themselves.
Collect important documents
Divorce proceedings will usually resolve all issues related to a married couple’s money and children.
It is very hard to fight over assets if you do not know what you have. In a divorce proceeding, each spouse is entitled to have a full understanding of the couple’s assets. This is important because in many marriages one spouse may be keeping track of the finances while the other is left in the dark.
In other cases, one spouse may squirrel away some money that the other spouse does not know about.
Figure out how to tell people
This is one thing that people struggle with the most, and it may have some legal implications.
You need to adjust your tax withholding, insurance, and retirement benefits at work, for example. You should not do that immediately, though.
While you are still married you usually need to continue working together financially. For example, both spouses usually remain responsible for a child’s health insurance until that issue is settled for the long run in the final divorce decree.
Simply choosing when to tell your friends and family is an emotional challenge for many people as well.