If you were considering divorce in 2020, you may be like many other women now: up to your neck in dealing with COVID-19 (CoronaVirus) in your personal life, and in your work life. You also may be sheltering-in-place with a partner you’d rather not see day-in and day-out. Know that you are not alone!
Here are some steps you can take during the stay-at-home mandates that will lay the ground work for a more productive divorce process once life returns to some level of normalcy. If you simply don’t have time, or can’t face the prospect of divorce now, we completely understand! Do what you can and keep this list handy for when you aren’t so overwhelmed.
- Practice self-care. Take walks outside, or try yoga. Meditate. Many classes on both are available online or on TV. Watch your diet and alcohol consumption. Staying healthy will help you make better decisions in the weeks and months ahead. Call friends and family regularly to check up on each other.
- Be discreet with your plans during this time, even among family members and friends.
- This may be a perfect time to engage a therapist who can offer advice on dealing not only with the virus, but with your impending divorce. This may need to be via telephone, Zoom or Skype, for the time being.
- When you have a moment and feel ready, begin gathering and making copies of all your household financial documents for the discovery process. Be sure to carefully replace any documents taken from your spouse’s desk or files.
- Consider getting a credit report on yourself and your spouse.
- Take photographs of everything in your house, inside the closets, drawers, the garage and even your safe deposit box; date each image. Take extra care in photographing valuable collections, if accessible. Store the images in a safe location, possibly online in a new, separate account. If items start to disappear as you move through divorce, you have a record of the items.
- Avoid creating new debt or spending down savings.
- Ease your stress about divorce by engaging a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, such as myself, to help you specifically prepare for the financial part of divorce. This is something you can do at this time even without the involvement of a divorce attorney. This will help you get answers to financial and tax questions, begin considering equitable settlement arrangements and developing a realistic post-divorce budget.
- Every day, write down one thing for which you are grateful and why. If you keep the list on your smart phone or computer, it’s easy to update each day. This will help you maintain perspective and a more positive attitude during this time.
- If you are planning to return to the workforce post-divorce, consider online courses now that will enhance your resume.
If you must, put the divorce on the back burner during these trying times. But remember it is still simmering there and will soon will require your full attention. Keep up necessary appearances, but take care of yourself and start preparing for what lies ahead. You want to be ready to proceed on your path to becoming a healthy, well-adjusted single once this virus has run its course.