So you’ve made the tough decision to file for divorce, or just learned that your spouse is filing for divorce. You probably have hundreds of questions and what-ifs swirling and it feels like nothing about your life as you know it is safe or secure any longer. Divorce proceedings can be difficult, but one of the best things you can do to start feeling comfortable again is equip yourself with knowledge. Here are a few things to keep in mind and plan for to help ease the transition to singledom.
How to Prepare for Divorce
1. Choose a divorce option. Most people don’t realize there are a number of divorce process options. Not all involve litigation. After reviewing the options, evaluate the state of your relationship. Are you on amicable terms? Do you want to avoid going to court? Will you both voluntarily attend meetings to discuss the dissolution of your marriage? Can you both agree on basic principles about how your marriage will end? If so, alternatives to litigation may be for you.
2. Seek support. As you are preparing for divorce, identify your support system and reach out to them. Whether your support team is small or consists of many individuals, it’s important to your mental health and well-being. Consider meeting with a divorce therapist who can be there to help you manage emotionally as the confusion and anxiety of divorce is often overwhelming. It’s perfectly normal to grieve over a divorce. Give yourself some time and equip yourself with the right resources to grieve in a healthy way.
3. Identify your assets and track expenses. Learn as much as you can as soon as you can about your family’s income and expenses, assets and obligations. This information will help you determine how to divide assets and debts, to help you build a post-divorce budget as you prepare for divorce. A financial advisor can take a look at your finances and help you formulate a budget and organize your financial information. It is often helpful to pull your own credit report.
4. Agree to keep it civil. If you and your spouse can keep it civil, your divorce will be less costly, both emotionally and financially. Conflict hurts children, so keeping the peace for the children is especially important. If children are involved, and no matter how much one or both of you are hurting, both parties should establish some basic ground rules. For example, the two of you should agree not to discuss divorce issues in front of the children. Issues should be discussed with your attorney or mediator, not in your home. Save the negativity and blame to private meetings where your children cannot over hear.
5. Be prepared to make some changes. If you took your spouse’s last name, at some point you may feel compelled to change your name back. Although this affects mostly women, this particular process is often overlooked and can be cumbersome if you are not aware of the steps involved. Do you know what documents you need in order to do so? Now is the time to plan, so you aren’t rushed and can easily schedule these tasks into your calendar.
How to Change Your Name After Divorce In Wisconsin
Changing your last name back to your maiden name (although some men change theirs too) post divorce doesn’t have to be a daunting process. Know what you’re in for and what documents are needed before-hand as you’re preparing for divorce.
First complete an application for a social security card.
Next, visit the Social Security Administration to have your name changed on your social security card. You must show a recently issued divorce decree as proof of your legal name change. In addition to showing the divorce decree, you must provide an identity document. That document must show your old name, as well as other identifying information or a recent photograph. (They do accept an expired document as evidence of your old name.) All documents must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. They do not accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents. View a full list of Social Security Administration locations here.
After receiving your new social security card, go to your local DMV. You can view a list of Milwaukee DMV Service Centers here. When you come to the DMV to change your name on your driver license or identification card, you will be required to show proof of your name change. Your divorce decree will suffice as proof of a name change, but you will also be required to show proof of identity, which can be proved by:
No matter how you found yourself here, being involved in a divorce is not what you wanted when you married. You can survive your divorce by learning all you can about divorce, the divorce process and how to understand your financial future after divorce. When do you get started? This would be a good time!
Diane S. Diel practices family law including collaborative divorce and mediation. She brings practical problem-solving skills to your family matter and seeks creative and respectful solutions. Contact our office today to consult with Diane on your family law matter.
Diane S. Diel practices family law including collaborative divorce and mediation in Milwaukee, WI.