A divorce means a change in lifestyle whether you like it or not. If you’re the one paying child support and spousal support, your income will go down. If you were a stay-at-home parent and have gotten a full-time job, the household tasks you used to take care of need to be outsourced if you want to keep your head above water, and that costs money. In a divorce, at least at the start, you are going it alone, even if you have friends, family, and kids to help you out. There are plenty of unexpected responsibilities during your Michigan divorce that can really make you feel like you’re working overtime.
1. Documenting your life: When is the last time you cleaned out your email inbox or folders? How good are you at organizing photos on your smartphone? If you can’t keep up with the basics, being forced to gather all relevant documentation about your life can be a daunting job. There is no escaping the information-gathering, whether you file first for divorce or not. Here are just some of the things your divorce attorney may request (and resist the temptation to fudge any documentation):
- Tax returns
- Brokerage statements
- Employee benefits summaries
- Pay stubs
- Joint financial statements
- Mortgage information
- Joint credit cards
- Other investments
- Prenuptial or postnuptial agreements
- Digital documentation (texts, emails, social media, etc.)
2. Making room for appointments: You will meet with your divorce attorney regularly. There will be a handful of courthouse appearances, more if you and your ex are arguing about parenting time or other matters. Taking time off of work to go to your “other job” can be incredibly frustrating and really stress you out, but it’s important for you to show up when your divorce proceedings demand your presence.
3. Taking care of the house: Even if your former spouse didn’t do much to help around the house, there were no doubt chores that each of you were separately responsible for from day to day or week to week. With your ex’s absence, these jobs now become yours, from taking the trash in and out to mowing the lawn, dealing with the family pets to buying the cleaning supplies. A transition from a two-adult home to a one-adult home can be brutal and, in these moments, you may find yourself wondering why you’re getting a divorce when it might just be easier to stick together so you don’t have so many jobs to do on your own.
4. Managing a budget: Whether you were the one to manage the household budget or not, you are in charge of a new one now. The financial responsibilities you inherit during and after a divorce are time-consuming and can be exhausting, but it’s good to establish and stick to a budget and be hyperaware of where every dollar goes. Money might be tight after a divorce, no matter which side of the spousal support you fall on, but it will get better with perseverance and the right perspective. In the meantime, you may feel like an unqualified accountant.
5. Moving things: Whether you’re the one moving out or staying in the family home, there is stuff to be moved. Your ex may be taking their sweet time getting their property out of the house, in which case you’re left with a mess or a bunch of items that you don’t want to look at anymore. (Try not to allow your burned heart to get the best of you and do something you shouldn’t like dispose of said items or burn them.) Or maybe you’re both moving out, in which case you must factor an entire-home move and sale into the time you’re spending rearranging your life.
The actual act of divorce can be so time-consuming you may feel like you need an assistant. There are actually divorce concierge professionals who can help you keep track of your life. But first, make an appointment with a Michigan divorce attorney, and bring the right information with you so you get off on the right foot. Contact Femminineo Attorneys in Mt. Clemens, MI, to schedule your no-cost initial interview and discuss your divorce.