Creating a Divorce Plan – Part 1

 Want to increase your chances of a smoother divorce? You need to get organised. Creating a divorce plan is key to this process. In Creating a Divorce Plan – Part 1, we’ll take a look at what a divorce plan is, and how you can get started. Next time, we’ll be focusing on how to deal with curveballs and challenges in the divorce process. We’ll consider how having a Divorce Plan can help you navigate these.  

What is a divorce plan?

As its name suggests, a divorce plan sets out your intended aims for divorce, and the actions you need to take to get there. It brings together all the elements of life affected by your divorce along with your preferences, goals and intentions.  

Why have a divorce plan?

There are so many reasons to have a divorce plan! Here are four:   You don’t want to miss anything: Putting together a plan of action in advance means taking the time to look at your values, your reality and consider all aspects of your life. It gives you all the relevant information in one place.

It keeps you grounded: A plan is a safe place to go when your emotions are all over the place. It’s something you can turn to again and again. You don’t have to keep everything in your head, or make decisions when emotions are high.

It increases your chance of getting what you want: Sometimes the best laid plans need to change, whatever the situation. But it is also true that if you don’t plan for what you want and need, you’re far less likely to get it by chance.

Your soon-to-ex-husband is likely to have one: If you have your own divorce plan, you get to control the agenda, at least equally. Without a plan, you hand over the reins of your divorce to your solicitor (expensive) and your ex (unlikely to be in your best interests).  

How to create a divorce plan

Start with the end in mind. Think about your post-divorce life and what you want and need that to look like. To do this effectively you need to bring in two essential tools:

Your values: as a coach I am a strong believer in values as the guideposts for your life. Think about what matters to you most and let those principles shine as you plan for life during and beyond divorce.

Reality: A divorce plan needs to be grounded in reality. Divorce provides a way for you to create a new start, and it’s fantastic to grab that opportunity. But a divorce isn’t a magic wand. Think about the obligations and commitments you have, as well as your likely budget.  

What to include in your plan

Your divorce plan will cover all aspects of your life. You will include what you want the end point to look like (your life after divorce) and all of the actions you need to take to get there, in order. You might want to include headings such as:

Finances: What money will you need to live on? Where will this come from? Do you have all the information you need for financial disclosure, or a financial statement to the courts?

Housing: What will happen to your current housing? Do you intend to stay, or to rent or buy a different property?

Children: How will you co-parent? Where will the children live, and how will they maintain healthy relationships with both parents? How will you make decisions about the children’s future?

Career: This is particularly relevant if you have children, or your financial situation will change considerably. What do you want and need your working life to be like? What sort of paid work will you do, if any, and how many hours will you work?  

A Divorce Coach can help

I am here to help you make a divorce plan. My regular group programme Get Divorce Ready takes you through the process, we discuss planning in the membership group and I offer one-to-one personalised coaching sessions to help you navigate your choices, ensure you don’t miss anything and keep you accountable so your plan is effective.   If you’re ready to start, book a call with me today.

The Divorce Alchemist

Emma Heptonstall, the Divorce Alchemist is author of the Amazon best selling book How to be a Lady Who Leaves, the Ultimate Guide to Getting Divorce Ready. A former lawyer, Emma is a practising family mediator and founder of Get Divorce Ready the online self study and group programmes. Emma is featured on BBC Radio, The Telegraph, the iPaper and in Marie Claire Magazine. To find out more visit www.emmaheptonstall.com