When you have completed your divorce it feels like you’ve crossed the finish line. That finish line is oftentimes seemed like it was a million miles away in just outside of your reach. Now that your divorce is over with he can finally let your hair down and take a deep breath. You’ve completed the race and whether or not you like the outcome of your case you can move on to something else. the question is whether or not there’s anything left for you to do after the judge has signed your final decree of divorce. What else could be in store for you in what do you need to keep in mind as you begin to transition into your post-divorce life?
If it’s me you’re asking, and I have to assume that you are since you’re reading this blog post, then I would tell you that you do have some work to do after your divorce is finalized. I would not take for granted that being done with your divorce means you are done with the entire process. Rather, I would recommend taking the time to assess your situation, create some goals and figure out a plan for achieving those goals. This is not intended to be a cheesy self-help blog post. We are going to be discussing concrete information and how that information can help you adjust two and thrive in your post-divorce world.
Assess the status of your relationship with your children
any parent who goes through a divorce will tell you that their main concern before, during, and after a divorce is with the well-being of their relationship with their children. I can tell you from experience that the people who expressed the most regret or ambivalence towards their divorce do so when they are not able to accomplish all their goals when it comes to custody, possession, and conservatorships of their children. Focusing your case on what is best for your children allows you to not only sleep better at night but better ensure that you can have a meaningful relationship with them after your divorce is over.
This starts with communicating with your kids during the divorce about what the case means to you and them. Depending on the age of your children they may have different questions about what the long-term impact of the divorce will be. Rather than complain to your children or talk to them about your frustrations with the divorce you should use your time wisely and discuss with them what you are going to do to make sure the transition into post-divorce life is add been official for everyone including them. Frame every conversation you have with your children with them at the center rather than yourself.
You may find that your children are adjusting to life as well as can be expected and that your relationship with them hasn’t suffered at all. On the other hand, you may find that your relationship with your children has suffered and as a result, you all may need some sort of counseling or therapy to get back on track from a relationship perspective. There is no shame in admitting that you may need outside help to get on the same page with your kids after the divorce. Don’t let your pride or misconceptions about therapy get in the way of doing what is best for themselves and you as a parent.
Assess the status of your relationship with your co-parent
if you attempt to begin your co-parenting relationship with your ex-spouse in the same manner that you ended your marriage then you will be in some trouble. Simply changing hats and calling someone your Co-parent rather than your ex-spouse is not going to do anything to change the nature of that relationship. It was damaged enough to necessitated divorce and will continue to be damaged if you do not reassess the relationship and work towards building strong and open lines of communication back to benefit your children in the long term.
The reality is that even though you and your ex-spouse may look the same physically and may believe the nature of your relationship to be the same during and after the divorce the fact is that the nature of your relationship has changed significantly in the past few months. No longer are you 2 partners in life and decision-making in all areas like you were when you were married. Rather, now your entire focus is on your relationship with your children and working together to raise them successfully. While it is nice to not have to work with this person in all areas of your life the one area that is left is by far the most important to you and your Co-parent.
If possible, I would recommend seeking out your co-parent to speak to him or her about your expectations for your relationship moving forward. I’m not giving you any kind of sentimental Bury the hatchet or water under the bridge type of analogy. Rather, I am asking you 2 have an honest and Frank discussion with this person about the problems that you may have communicating with him or her and how you all will seek to avoid problems to benefit your child. You can do so in person, over the phone, or even using Co-parenting websites. You should establish early on each of your preferred ways of being communicated with and then stick to those methods to avoid confusion or frustration.
If nothing else, you need to learn to be able to communicate with this person consistently. From my experience, it is those parents who are willing to at least communicate with one another that tend to do best in the world of co-parenting. I’m not saying that you have to agree with him or her on every subject or that you shouldn’t still feel hurt or betrayed in some ways depending on your circumstances. What I am telling you is that having a productive and businesslike relationship with this person is crucial to your ability to Co-parent. You can seek help in your personal life if you have issues on a personal level with that person. However, don’t let personal animosity drift into your relationship.
Finally, I think being able to co-parent affectively does wonders for your children as well. As uneasy as you may feel after your divorce your children will likely feel the same way. They are not nearly as well equipped as you are, believe it or not, to deal with the changes that you have seen take place in your divorce. For them to be able to see their parents working together despite their differences can not only make them feel more comfortable in their post-divorce lives but can offer them a great lesson as they grow and mature into adults themselves.
What is your debt situation?
One of the issues that I always like to stress with people coming out of a divorce is that debt is not your friend. I say this knowing full well that most people are more comfortable with taking on debt than I am and that you may well have taken on debt to hire an attorney from our office. With that said, debt works best in limited scenarios. Unfortunately, debt does not work well when you factor in risks like job loss, pandemics, general downturns in health, or the health of your children. For that reason, assessing how leveraged you are in terms of debt is a critical step to post-divorce health.
The first thing I would do after a divorce is to run a credit check on yourself and pull a credit report for many of the three major credit reporting agencies. If you have spent the better part of a year focusing on preparing and completing a divorce then you may have not been keeping up to date as well on your finances and on ensuring that you are up to date on every aspect of your financial health. For that reason, you should look at your credit report to determine whether or not you recognize all of the deaths in your name. You would not be the first person to be the victim of identity fraud or even the victim of a spouse taking out a loan in your name during a divorce.
This way, you will be able to more readily assess your financial state in determining whether or not remedial measures need to be taken to address any errors on the report or evidence of identity theft. If everything checks out on the credit report the next thing I would do is begin to organize the debts that you have. A simple Google search will reveal that there are a million ways that people will suggest you can pay off debt. I’m not here to vouch for any of them necessarily but I am telling you that paying off debt is a great idea.
Paying off debt begins with getting on a budget. In your household, the word budget may have always been a four-letter word but it doesn’t have to be. Budgeting is the first step toward’s Financial Wellness. Learning how much you make, how much money you have going out each month, and everything in between will help you to focus your resources on the goals that are most important to you. I have heard from multiple people that getting on a budget makes it feel like you’ve gotten a raise. Rather than wondering where all the money you earn goes each month, you will have a concrete understanding of what your actual financial life looks like on a basic level.
From there, you will need to learn where you can adjust your spending, if need be, to free up more money each month to be able to pay down debt. There are two schools of thought when it comes to paying down debt period the first school of thought is to organize your debt based on interest rates and work towards paying off those debts with the highest interest rate first period the other school of thought would be to work on paying off loans based on the size of the loan itself. Those loans better the smallest would be worked on 1st in the momentum you gain from paying down those debts would snowball and build while you take on the larger debts next.
The shortest path to building wealth is to utilize your income as best as you can. That means not paying your income to creditors and lenders were keeping it and investing it for yourself as best you see fit. Debt is the number one reason why people cannot avail themselves well. When you have dead in your life it prevents you from being able to improve your circumstances financially and to save for your future. Let your divorce be the defining and changing moment in your life as far as you approach death.
Become more goal-oriented
When it comes to your post-divorce life I would not take one single moment for granted and would instead seek to be as intentional as I could be regarding achieving goals. Your focus should be on achieving those goals and bettering yourself throughout the process. Those goals could be personal, financial, or relational. It doesn’t matter to me what your goals are the point of the matter is to do your best to achieve them. Behaving intentionally and doing whatever it takes to accomplish those goals is what I am recommending to you.
This means not letting a single day go by where you do not take steps to be more productive or to achieve the goals that you have set out for yourself. If you have a goal to become a better parent then you need to ask yourself how you will go about accomplishing that goal and what are the means that you have to put into place for that goal to be attainable. You need to figure out what needs to be true for you to be able to accomplish that goal.
A goal needs to be your own, it needs to be concrete and it needs to be in writing. Let’s walk through each of these elements to close out today’s blog post. You will not work as hard to accomplish someone else’s goals as you will to accomplish your own. If your mother has a goal for you then that means you may be able to work hard for that goal but you will not push as strongly as you would have or the goal to be your own. When you take ownership of something you tend to work harder at it and sacrifice more to achieve it. Think about what goals mean the most to you and then work to accomplish those goals.
Next, I would start to think about making your goals as specific in concrete as possible. Many people that I’ve worked within divorce cases will tell me that they want to get healthier after a divorce and that the divorce dragged them down into a spot where they were not caring for themselves physically as they should have been otherwise. Simply having a general goal to lose weight is not good enough. You need to be able to every concrete goal and a deadline to accomplish that goal to be as intentional as you can be. Deciding to lose 5 pounds in the next 30 days is measurable and concrete.
Finally, to make yourself as accountable to your goals as possible, I would write down any goals that you have. Physically seeing those goals on a day in and day out basis can be enough to cause you to push hard to accomplish them no matter what the obstacles or challenges you may face are. Sometimes sing a goal like that will be enough to taunt you towards doing what it takes to accomplish your objective. I’ve seen people take on 2nd or even third jobs or accomplish financial goals that they have written down and placed around their home.
Questions about the material contained in today’s blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
if you have any questions about the material contained in today’s blog post please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultation six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations can be a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law as well as about the circumstances of your family and how they may be impacted by the filing of divorce for a child custody case.
Thank you for reading our blog post today we look forward to you joining us tomorrow as we continue to share unique and relevant information about the world of Texas family law and the benefits of experienced, knowledgeable representation in that process.