Life After Divorce: Steps to Rebuild Your Life

A young woman takes a break to write in her journal and drinking tea. concept for Life After Divorce: Steps to Rebuild Your Life.

Rebuilding your life after divorce can be like starting from square one. You may just be happy the legal process is over, or you might wonder where to even begin. Here are some legal and lifestyle steps you can take to start healing after divorce, so you can get your next chapter started off right.

Step 1: Get the Word Out About Your Divorce

Most divorce attorneys advise their clients to keep their divorce private while the case is going on. This includes not badmouthing your spouse on social media or sharing financial information with friends or loved ones. However, after the Connecticut family law judge signs your Judgment of Divorce, it’s time to get the word out that you are single, and no longer together with your former spouse. This can be hard – especially if you had a high-conflict divorce – because friends and family will want to know details, but being public about your divorce can avoid revisiting your grief months or even years in the future when friends who don’t know make false assumptions. There are also many professionals who need to know about your divorce for legal and practical purposes. That said, it’s still prudent to be careful what you say about your ex. After navigating through a turbulent time you really don’t need to stir up post-judgment disputes.

Who to Tell About Your Divorce

  • Family
  • Trusted friends
  • An estate planning attorney: it is almost always advisable to make a new will - we can help you with this
  • Employer’s HR department (to adjust tax withholdings from your income)
  • Banks and financial advisors (to change beneficiary designations on accounts)
  • Landlords (to remove spouses’ names from lease agreements)
  • Children’s schools (specifically your child custody and visitation plan)
  • Children’s doctors, dentists, and medical providers

Step 2: Effectuating Your Judgment

Many judgments of divorce order one or both parties to take specific actions in the days or months after divorce. You may be required to:

  • Refinance your home
  • Close joint bank accounts
  • Pick up personal property from the former marital home
  • Obtain life insurance to cover child support or alimony obligations
  • Assume marital debts

Read through your judgment carefully and create a “to-do list” with everything the court has ordered you to do. Make a second list of everything your ex-spouse is required to do. Then you can check off these lists as each task is completed, so you know nothing will be missed.

Step 3: Starting Fresh After Divorce

It is often wise – and even necessary – to start fresh after a divorce, rather than trying to pick up pieces from what is left. This may include:

  • Finding a new place to live,
  • Paying off or transferring old credit card balances and opening new accounts in your own name
  • Opening new bank accounts and transferring direct deposit and automatic payments

Each of these can help to sever any lingering connection between your financial affairs and your spouse’s. However, there are emotional benefits to starting fresh. By looking at divorce as an opportunity to do something new, you can shed the weight of the conflict that caused the breakdown in your marriage relationship, and make space for new opportunities.

Step 4: Healing After Divorce

Admittedly, the idea of starting fresh is often easier said than done. Many people going through a divorce experience anger, sadness, and grief at the loss of their relationship, and their old way of life. You should give yourself the space and support you need to heal after divorce. You may want to consider hiring a therapist or counselor to provide short-term transition services. If you have existing mental health challenges, you should be aware of the risk of flares or episodes related to the changes you are experiencing. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Divorce is one of the hardest things a person can do.

Step 5: Planning Life After Divorce

A key step to moving beyond divorce emotionally is creating plans for your new life after divorce. Separation and divorce mean rewriting the rituals and patterns of your life to exclude your ex-spouse. It can affect everything from who does the dishes (it’s you now) to how you celebrate holidays. Take time to plan where you want to take your life. You may consider advancing your career, taking classes, relocating, or starting a new relationship (though you may not want to rush into this). This will help you connect with your individual identity and redefine your future.

Step 6: Credit – Rebuilding After Divorce

Some newly single Connecticut residents find themselves facing financial challenges either because their credit is still connected to their ex-spouse, or because of decisions made during the marriage. If the other spouse was the primary wage earner, you may need to rebuild credit in your own name. To do this, open a new credit account (try going through your bank if you don’t know where to start) and then use it regularly and keep it paid off. This will help you rebuild your credit and establish a financial history separate from your ex-spouse.

Step 7: Co-parenting and Cooperation

If your divorce involved children, it is important to remember that your ex-spouse will still be part of your life after your divorce is over, as your “co-parent.” In most cases, you will need to work with him or her at parenting time exchanges, to plan holidays and vacations, and to make decisions about your children’s health, education, and future. In Connecticut, completion of a co-parenting class is required for all parents of minor children to help you learn and start to develop strategies for resolving conflict with your child’s other parent. This will make it easier to separate your feelings from your child’s needs and avoid heading back to court to modify or enforce your custody and visitation order.

Getting a divorce can be hard practically, financially, and emotionally. It also gives you a chance for a new start and new opportunities. Divorce lawyer Edward Jurkiewicz at Lawrence & Jurkiewicz represents people in Hartford and Litchfield County. He can help you rebuild your life after divorce, and set you up for success. Please contact Ed online or at (860) 264-1551 today to schedule a confidential consultation to see how he can help you.

Categories: Divorce