For most people, one of the first steps in a divorce is moving out of the house.
Sometimes moving out is done in a calm and rational manner. Other times it is an emotional and even violent experience. Either way, it is best to follow this divorce moving out checklist.
Moving out is important
In most states, moving out is an important legal step towards dissolving a marriage. This is the most significant step of the divorce moving out checklist.
Divorce and moving out are precursors to each other. When one partner moves out, divorce follows. And post-divorce, it is necessary for one of the partners to move out.
Some states will only grant a no-fault divorce after a couple has been living separately for a period of time lasting anywhere from a few weeks to more than a year.
You should check into the law in your state, because if this is a requirement you need to establish a separate residence as quickly as possible. This separation period effectively serves as a waiting period that blocks a final divorce until the government is very sure the couple really wants to be divorced. This should be at the top of your divorce moving out checklist if you live in a state with this rule.
Gather up financial information
This is one of the most important points of the post-divorce checklist. Splitting up a couple’s assets (or debts) is a big part of a divorce.
It can be very hard to split up those assets when you do not know how much you have. It is surprisingly common for one spouse to not have a good sense of the couple’s financial situation. Worse still, in many couples, neither spouse has a good grasp on things.
In a divorce, the person with the most organized information will often come out ahead. Leaving your lawyer to fumble around your financial papers, or even have to go to court to extract information from your estranged spouse, can be very expensive.
A spouse with a well-organized divorce moving out checklist will be able to ensure no assets fall through the cracks, and no expenses are unaccounted for.
Get ready to live on your own
Think about the ways that you are dependent on your spouse. Do you have a joint bank account? Do you share a cell-phone plan? Do you each have keys to “your” car?
These things can suddenly become very complicated. In most cases, a joint bank account is going to need to stop quickly, but at the same time, you are not allowed to just drain the account. You need to come up with a short-term agreement until things are finalized. Temporary management of resources is an integral point in the after divorce checklist.
This may require court intervention, but most couples are able to work it out. For example, the joint account might continue to pay bills like the mortgage on the family home, but each spouse is allowed a certain amount to spend on their individual other expenses.
You probably also want a new cell phone so your spouse cannot see your call records, and you often want to stop your spouse’s access to things like your car. An important thing to add in your divorce moving out checklist.
Work things out with your kids
The good news is that most researchers believe that children tend to adjust well over time to divorce. Parents need not stay in an unhealthy relationship just for the sake of their children.
That said, how you go about it can have a huge impact on a child’s life. You should try to be open with your children, and provide warmth and emotional support individually even if you cannot do so as a couple anymore. Try to keep your dispute with your spouse separate from your relationship with your children.
This is not just a divorce moving out checklist but also a checklist for moving on after divorce. Although the emotional wreckage will need time to smooth over, with the financial and legal requirements out of the way, you would have one thing less to worry about and you would be one step closer to moving on after divorce.