Stuck in the midst of your divorce? It might feel like there’s nothing you can do to make it better. Either you don’t know what you should be doing, or you have so many things to do you don’t know where to start.
Either way, here are 9 easy (relatively speaking) things you can do right now. Each is designed to be done in an hour or less, and guaranteed to improve your divorce situation.
1. Write a wish list.
Why it will help: At some point you’re going to have to tell someone - a mediator, your ex, the judge - what you want in your divorce.Thinking that through now will help you get organized and focus on the outcome you want. Besides, studies show that those of us who write down our goals are 42% more likely to attain them.
2. Set up a divorce subfolder in your email inbox.
Why it will help: Because after you do this, looking at your regular inbox will no longer make you want to hyperventilate. And because you don’t want to spend 12 hours searching for really important emails later when you need them. (If you’re feeling so inclined, name it something slightly funny or encouraging. After all, you’ll be looking at this folder title for a while.) And remember to actually move those divorce-related emails into your subfolders as they arrive. Or get fancy-schmancy and create a rule to send them there automatically.
3. Ask your lawyer the most important thing you should be doing.
Why it will help: You’ve got a million things to do but not enough time in the day. Plus, not everything you could be doing is actually important to do. You’ve got to prioritize and focus. Send an email to your lawyer with this question: “Of all the things I could be doing, what one thing will advance my situation the most right now?”
4. Download your bank and credit card statements.
Why it will help: At some point during your divorce, you’re likely going to need them.That may be to review in preparing your budget or to produce to the other side in “discovery.”Most financial institutions only let you see your statements so far back before they archive them. If you get in the habit of saving them now, you won’t have to go to the extra trouble of requesting them later.
5. Hug your kids, your dog, your mom.
Why it will help: We’ve talked about the health benefits of hugging (in a COVID-safe way of course). And sometimes you just need to pause for a minute and physically connect with those you love.
6. Run your credit report.
Why it will help: If you haven’t checked your credit in over a year, it’s a good idea to see what’s on it. Hopefully nothing on it will surprise you. But you shouldn’t enter into a settlement - especially one that says you’ll keep any debts in your own name - without being sure you know what those are.
7. Contact your/your spouse’s HR department for health insurance info.
Why it will help: You need a plan to separate your health insurance from your spouse’s. If you’re currently on the same plan through one of your jobs, that will change with your divorce. Find out what your options are for continuation coverage (“COBRA”), how much it will cost, and how long you’ll have to elect it after divorce. Hint: it’s not very long.
8. Email the person who prepared your will.
Why it will help: Even if there’s nothing you need to do now, knowing the right time to update these important docs (it’s either during or after your divorce) may give you a little peace of mind. And if you’ve never done a will in the first place? Well, sis, there’s no time like the present.
9. Disconnect for a day.
Why it will help: Ok, we said these are things you can do in an hour. But sometimes you just need a break. Set your email to auto-reply, turn off social media, and tell everyone who needs to know that you’ll be unreachable until tomorrow.
You've got this.