Divorce can be one of the most stressful experiences of a person’s life, even when they see it coming well before legal proceedings. Unfortunately, others are blindsided by divorce petitions from their spouses, not realizing their marriage was in jeopardy until proceedings have already started. Whatever your impending divorce may entail, the first steps you take in approaching the case can significantly impact the outcome.

It’s easy to feel uncertain and daunted by the ongoing financial issues you will likely face after divorce. However, a few best practices can potentially help you streamline your experience with the divorce process and make the aftermath easier to manage. While dissolution proceedings will be unique for every case, there are several things anyone can do to prepare for a divorce and make these emotionally stressful proceedings a bit easier to manage.

Understanding Your Divorce Agreement

Finalizing your divorce in the Midwest can feel like the start of a new life, for better or worse. However, once you have your divorce order in hand, it can easily seem overwhelming to consider all the things you need to address to restart your life on your own. Therefore, one of the first things you should do after your divorce is finalized is to carefully review the terms of your court order with the help of a Midwest divorce attorney.

The divorce order should cover every issue your divorce entailed, from property division and spousal support to child custody rights and child support obligations. You must abide by the terms of your divorce if it contains any long-term stipulations. However, if you and your ex-spouse did not have children together and have no long-term arrangements, you’ll simply need to review the terms of the final divorce order to start building the next phase of your life.

When you have a child support obligation, a spousal support arrangement, or any ongoing legal commitments to your ex-spouse, it’s vital to understand and adhere to them closely. Failure to abide by a lawful court order can lead to severe penalties, including contempt of court and criminal prosecution in some cases. Again, your attorney can highlight any particular areas of concern in your divorce order.

Make a New Budget

Whether you have any ongoing financial commitments regarding your ex or not, your divorce will likely impact your financial life in several ways. California’s community property law requires divorcing spouses to evenly split all the marital property they own, and each spouse may retain control of their respective separate property. Beyond your property division resolution, you must consider whether you have an ongoing child support or alimony agreement and factor this into your new budget.

Divorce can be incredibly emotionally stressful, even when the spouses know their relationship must end. Getting a firm handle on your finances after a difficult divorce can be invaluable when adjusting to your new reality. Your attorney can help you determine the long-term implications of any ongoing financial agreements your divorce entails. In addition, a financial advisor can potentially offer valuable advice as you create a new economic plan after divorce.

Revisit Your Estate Plan

If you have recently finalized a divorce in the Midwest and have a last will and testament or any other estate plan in place, you must take time to revisit and revise it. Your ex-spouse is likely listed as a beneficiary on one or more of your accounts, and you probably do not want them to inherit your property if anything were to happen to you. Estate planning after divorce may require substantial adjustments to your current plan, or you may prefer to simply discard your previous estate plan and start from scratch.

An experienced estate planning attorney is the ideal resource in this situation. Your divorce attorney can help you firmly understand the terms of your divorce order and what ongoing financial concerns your dissolution could impose. An estate planning lawyer can then assist you in translating these recent changes in your life into a new and more cohesive estate plan. Be sure to change beneficiary designations on your remaining assets within your estate plan and each account’s details.

Know How to Modify Your Divorce Order

If you and your ex-spouse have ongoing terms and conditions you both must follow included in your divorce order, you should know that you can petition to change these terms under certain conditions. The modification process allows anyone accountable to a family court order to request reasonable changes to their order in light of recent events. Life can pose unpredictable challenges, some of which can easily influence the terms of a standing divorce order. When such events interfere with your ability to continue adhering to a family court order, you have the right to file a petition for modification.

It’s possible to modify terms for a child custody arrangement, child support requirements, and alimony obligations. For example, if you are required to pay alimony based on your income and then suffer a catastrophic injury that will prevent you from working in the future, you can request a reduced or terminated alimony obligation to reflect this significant change in your life and finances. The modification process is relatively straightforward, and if approved, your modification could take immediate effect.

Consult an Attorney

Divorce can feel like a new beginning in many ways, but finalizing your divorce may not mean that your interactions with your ex have entirely ended. In addition, you may have questions that arise concerning ongoing terms in your divorce order or encounter problems that require a review of your divorce order. Whatever your case may entail, an experienced family law attorney is the best resource for guidance after divorce.

An experienced Midwest divorce attorney can help you determine whether you have grounds to petition for changes to your divorce order and guide you through this process if necessary. They can also help you understand the finer points of your divorce order, so you are not accused of violations in the future. If you have questions following a difficult divorce, reach out to your Midwest divorce attorney for the answers you need.