Finalizing your divorce can signify the beginning of the next phase of your life. For some people, obtaining a divorce decree can feel like a breath of fresh air after a long and emotional legal battle. For others, it may feel like their world has ended, and they need to start rebuilding a new life from scratch. No matter how you feel about your divorce, once you have your divorce decree in hand, there are several things you should do afterward to help ease your transition to your new life as a single person again.
Take Advantage of Support Resources
Divorce can be emotionally challenging for many people. Even if you have positive feelings about ending a toxic marriage, it can still come as a shock once you have your divorce decree in hand and the reality of your situation becomes more apparent. There are many publicly accessible support resources available for the newly divorced, from shelters and support groups to free counseling and professional services.
Whether you need help overcoming emotional trauma or simply need guidance adjusting to a new single lifestyle, there are likely to be many different available resources in your area that can make your transition to the next phase of your life easier. If you worked with an experienced divorce attorney in your divorce case, they are a great resource for securing the support you need after finalizing your divorce.
Review Your Estate Plan
If you have any kind of estate plan in place, you probably need to review it after your divorce. It’s likely that you have your ex-spouse listed as a beneficiary for some or all of the assets included in your estate plan. You should take time to review your estate planning documents and your individual accounts to remove your ex-spouse as a beneficiary in case something happens to you shortly after finalizing your divorce.
An estate planning attorney is a great resource for adjusting your estate plan after divorce. They can not only assist you in adjusting your beneficiary designations but also help you explore alternative estate planning options that may better serve your new reality post-divorce.
Create a New Budget
Adjusting from a double-income household to supporting yourself with a single income is a big change for many people post-divorce. Additionally, your divorce decree may have entitled you to collect alimony and/or child support from your spouse. You may need to overhaul your existing budget in many ways to account for your recent change in circumstances.
An experienced family law attorney can likely recommend a financial advisor who can help you create a new budget that considers your new financial situation. While the cost of legal fees for divorce is well-known to most people who complete the divorce process, many are taken by surprise when it comes to adjusting for their new single life after divorce. Take advantage of available financial support services so you can begin the next phase of your life on a stronger financial footing.
Consult Your Attorney About Potential Divorce Order Modifications
It is not uncommon for divorced individuals to eventually realize that recent events have rendered their divorce terms untenable. For example, suppose your divorce order requires you to pay your ex alimony each month and you lose your job or suffer a severe injury. In that case, recent events like these could qualify as valid grounds for modifying your divorce order.
The modification process is relatively straightforward and highly effective when you need to make practical changes to an existing divorce order. The process begins with the filing of a petition for modification. The petitioner must include a clear description of the changes sought and their explanation for seeking these changes. The court will set a hearing date after receiving the petition if a judge determines that the petition holds merit. At this hearing, the petitioner and the respondent both have the chance to speak on the issue. If the judge determines that the petition is valid and reasonable, they can implement the desired changes immediately.
There are generally three aspects of divorce that lead recently divorced individuals to seek modifications to their divorce orders: child custody, child support, and alimony. When it comes to seeking a modification to a child custody determination, the petitioner must prove that the desired changes would serve the child’s best interests better than the existing terms of the custody order. As far as child support is concerned, it’s possible to petition for a reduced child support obligation if recent life events have altered your financial situation and left you unable to meet your payment requirements. When it comes to alimony, you may seek modification if you believe your ex has engaged in a terminating action or their financial situation has changed in any way that materially affects your existing alimony terms.
Handling Domestic Violence After Divorce
Unfortunately, many people in the US seek divorce to escape abusive relationships. It’s also not uncommon for people to initiate divorce proceedings in response to domestic violence. Some divorced individuals may also experience ongoing conflicts with their ex-spouses. If this occurs, you need to act quickly to prevent further incidents. Whether your ex has been stalking you, harassing you, or has engaged in any form of violence against you or your children, a protective order can prevent them from contacting you and engaging in any further harmful actions.
An experienced family law attorney is your best asset when you are experiencing issues with your ex-spouse. They can secure a protective order for you relatively quickly and explore available legal options for preventing similar behavior in the future. Additionally, if your ex has engaged in domestic violence against you after your divorce, this could constitute grounds for modifying your divorce order in several ways.
Ultimately, divorce is a life-changing experience for most people who go through it. You may feel confident about the divorce process at first and then feel lost as to what you should do next after securing your divorce order. No matter what type of support you need following divorce, an experienced attorney is your best available resource. Contact a trustworthy attorney if you are having trouble adjusting to your post-divorce life to see how they can help.