Many people talk about divorce and what ultimately often comes with it, but the issue of separation is often overlooked. Deciding to separate from your partner isn’t an easy choice to make, and it can be tough to figure out what to do next once you’ve chosen to do so. If you and your partner have opted to separate, here’s what to consider next.
Get Your Living Situation Organized
As part of your separation, you, your partner or both of you will decide to move out of the shared home. Deciding who is moving is a tough decision, even if it’s clear who should stay from a logical standpoint. As hard as this is, it’s best to determine the living situation as soon as you can. Living together for a long period of time after a separation can be uncomfortable and lead to more issues down the road.
While both of you may want to stay in the family home, an honest decision has to be made about what is best for you and your partner. Finances do come into play here, as you will be going from a two-income household to two one-income households. If you, for example, would struggle to pay bills at the family home, you’re better off looking for a more affordable place to live, and vice versa.
Review All Your Finances
Dividing up assets and finances is a key part of any separation, and it’s especially necessary if you believe the separation is going to be long-term and lead to divorce. This won’t be a quick process, but getting started on it as soon as possible may avoid trouble down the road. One way to start is by handling shared accounts.
In most cases, you will want an account in your name only, and this is where money will go in the future. But you might also have a shared account you want to keep open for now. If that’s the case, talk to your bank about changing how funds are accessed in that shared account. For example, you can request that transactions from that account require authorization by both you and your partner. This will help prevent either of you from emptying the account or using money without one person being aware of it.
Shared credit card accounts can be closed, or you and your partner can set rules for any remaining active cards. If you don’t have any credit cards in your name primarily, now is the time to get one so you can build credit under your own name.
When it comes to assets, you can start by making a list of all of them and how you feel about each one, as you want to keep some more than the others and this can help guide settlement negotiations down the line. Your family law attorney will be able to help with the asset and debt division aspects of your separation.
Practice Some Self-Care
Separating is a process that usually leaves people with complicated emotions. Sadness, anger, and confusion are some of the feelings you may experience during this time. It’s totally normal, and practicing some self-care can help you begin to heal and move forward.
Talk to trusted loved ones and friends during this time. Get exercise and eat well; you want to take care of yourself so you’re ready to handle the uncertainty and stress that come with such a major life event. Do whatever healthy things you need to do so that you’re in a good state of mind and body.
While the specifics of each separation will vary by couple, following the tips above will help get your transition off to a solid start.