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Untying the Knot: 4 Steps to Starting the Uncoupling Process

August 17, 20232 min read

Untying the Knot: 4 Steps to Starting the Uncoupling Process

Take a deep breath — yes, you, right now. Chances are, if you’re reading this blog, you’re feeling pretty overwhelmed at the moment. Entering into a divorce (regardless of whether or not you’re the one who initiated it) can be a scary process, but the best way to get more comfortable with your discomfort is to get informed.

The first phase of any divorce is the uncoupling. Untangling your lives can be complicated, but if you focus on taking it step-by-step, you can feel entirely prepared before you even enter the legal process. Here’s how to get started:

Officially separate and start independent living: It’s important to establish your official date of separation early in the divorce process to help you ensure a fair and equitable settlement agreement later on. This date will be used to evaluate and determine division of property, spousal support, child custody and support, and division of debt. Even if your circumstances don’t allow for you to physically live apart immediately, you can still begin living your lives independently, and not as a couple.

Gather financial info and understand your cash flow: As part of the divorce process, both you and your former partner will need to go through financial disclosure. Before you even get to that legal stage, it’s helpful to take the time to understand your new cash flow and create a financial plan as an independent person. Focus on how you can become financially independent and learn how to set yourself up for the future.

Create the interim family plan: Until your divorce is finalized, you and your former partner should create an interim family plan to establish living and custody arrangements, as well as how any shared expenses will be handled. The goal is to create stability for your children while you’re all navigating this new family dynamic. Even if you’re still living together, it’s important to maintain healthy boundaries between you and your former partner to help you all adjust to your new family structure.

Communicate the plan: Sharing this news — whether to your children, your extended family, or your friends — can be incredibly emotionally charged. Reduce your stress by preparing statements that clearly communicate your plan, letting people know very specifically what the roles and expectations are for all the stakeholders. Remember that what you share sets the tone for how others will respond to your news, so keep your messaging as positive and healthy as possible.

Following these four steps will help you feel more at ease and more prepared before you enter into the legal process. The more informed you are before you begin legal negotiations, the better equipped you’ll be to make the best long-term decisions for you and your family.

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Alicia Robertson

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