Divorce can feel like it consumes your life. Although there’s a definitive ending point, its impact on your life can continue for many years. It’s important to recognize this and to take steps to move on. Here are 5 things to do after divorce.
1 – Update Your Estate Plan
First and foremost, update your estate plan. So many divorcees forget to do this. Your ex-spouse is likely listed as a beneficiary on your will, healthcare proxy, 401(k) plan, life insurance policies, etc. It’s critical that you change these right away. Although outdated terms are likely to be contested by other family members, the court process can be time consuming and expensive. You can avoid this risk by simply reviewing and updating all documents in your estate plan. Contact our team for assistance with this.
2 – Work on Building Credit
Even if you haven’t missed any mortgage or credit card payments, your credit score can take a hit after divorce. This often occurs from joint accounts being closed. First, it reduces your credit available. Any balances you carry on remaining cards will represent a higher percentage of your available credit. Additionally, the age of accounts is important. Closing older joint accounts can leave only newer accounts in your credit profile. This also impacts your score. Work on rebuilding your credit by making on-time payments and allowing your accounts to age. Read our article on other financial mistakes to avoid during divorce.
3 – Take Time to Heal
One of the most important things to do after divorce is to allow yourself time to heal. Your divorce may impact you much more than you realize. Don’t enter into a new and serious relationship too quickly. Think about what you truly want and need to be happy. Avoid using a new relationship as a way to make your ex-spouse jealous or angry. The best way to move on is to find true happiness and to build a better future, which takes time and cannot be forced.
4 – Get Counseling For Your Kids
Divorced parents are often so caught up in their own anger and grief that they forget the impact it can have on their kids. Some kids act out while others retreat into silence. Even if your children seem okay with the divorce, they likely have some trauma. Be sure to seek counseling for them. They may not feel comfortable expressing feelings to you for fear or hurting you or in an effort to protect you. It’s important to offer a neutral party for emotional support. Also, focus on better ways to communicate with your ex-spouse to alleviate ongoing stress or burden on your children.
5 – Focus on Relationships
Lastly, focus on other relationships in your life. Did you alienate mutual friends or family members during the divorce? Do you need to repair or work to maintain certain relationships for yourself or your children? Whether you’re ready to admit it or not, those relationships will be key to your future happiness and will enable you to truly move on. Take time to reflect and repair connections with your friends and family.
Summary of Things to Do After Divorce
Moving on from divorce doesn’t mean that you leave everything behind. Instead, it requires an honest look at your life and decisions. Update your estate plan to protect your heirs. Actively work to rebuild credit so you can buy cars, houses, and do other things in the future. Get counseling for yourself and your kids so you can heal. Repair other relationships so they don’t cause you future stress or anguish. The more intentional you are about these efforts, the quicker you will truly move on from your divorce.