Be Prepared if You Intend to Leave Your Spouse

In the movies, the classic break-ups normally involve a broken vase, a lot of shouting, some choice words, and a door slamming. The next scene is then set for two people getting along without one another, living in separate homes and acting as if the marriage never took place at all. The reality however, is not smooth. While the end of a marriage may include some broken vases and some choice words with your partner, it isn’t always as easy as just leaving. This is perhaps why more than half of all married couples who report unhappiness choose to stay together. When it comes to ending a marriage and walking out, there can be a lot at stake financially and familial wise, that it doesn’t make sense to leave as a result of rash decision.

Bottom line, is that you must be prepared if you intend to leave your spouse. When you realize that you have hit that fundamental point in your life where you KNOW you aren’t going to stay married, it is NOT time to act. Instead, it is then that you should step back from the situation, emotionally removed and do some serious thinking and planning.

Most experts actually also suggest that husband or wife, whomever is intent on leaving keep their lips sealed until they have made responsible preparations. Think of it this way, you wouldn’t leave to go on vacation at the spur of the moment without tying up loose ends. So why in the world would you simply pack up your stuff and leave one day, for good without at least as much preparation as you would put into a vacation.

The following are some excellent tips about preparing to leave your spouse and some of the things you should consider ahead of time, before you make any moves out the door.

  • Consult with a lawyer. A divorce lawyer is a great point of reference and someone who can give you some good advice on what you need to do before you leave. This way, with their help, you can plan and prepare for what the future holds. Be realistic in realizing that you don’t really know what you need to do or how you need to make choices, and allow an attorney to lead you. Remember, their expertise includes seeing what happens when couples enter into a divorce un-prepared and simply angry.
  • *As a side note. Realize that AFTER a divorce, a woman’s standard of living is typically dropped by at least 27%. If you have children, it could drop even further. Unfortunately, women are more prone to making abrupt decisions about divorce that are fueled by emotions (For instance, after she found out about infidelity). It is okay to live in anger, frustration, pain and disdain for a short period until you can get your thoughts together.
  • Be involved in your financial life. Typically, in most marriages only one person handles the finances leaving the other partner in the dark. However, if you are the one that is in the dark, an imminent divorce means its time to get involved. You need to know where you stand as a couple, what you stand to lose, and what other financial considerations may be important to your future. Plus, being involved helps to improve your financial skills and gives you more time to have hands on experience financially before the big ‘d.’”
  • Start saving some money for yourself. Come up with a plan, and start putting away some money of your own. While this may seem deceptive, you need to think of it in terms of self-preservation. Depending on your situation, you may not have this option should you spill the beans and come forth asking for a divorce before you are prepared.
  • Think about housing. Who is moving out? If you know that you are the one who wants to move, then you need to make some definitive plans. You have to have a place to go, and you have to know that you can afford it. You might want to talk to family members that may house you for the short term ahead of time, so you don’t just show up at their door in the middle of the night with a suitcase. Or you might look for some sort of housing option that will work for you. Remember, that after a divorce your living conditions WILL change. You need to try and not set your sights extremely high and think economical when deciding where you will go.
  • Think about the children. Often, when a marriage ends the couple is so enraged that they don’t think about the kiddos. But you must. And you must be able to show that you can take care of them. You know your spouse and you know whether a major custody battle is going to ensue or not. Try and think up all of the amicable options that you can ahead of time, so you can present these to your spouse when the two of you discuss the divorce. And remember, that although you may want to get back at, or get even with your spouse by using the kids as pawns, this is NOT a good idea.
  • Get your ducks in a row. If you need to document anything that is going on in the marriage, such as illegal activity, drug use or abuse now is the time to start putting together legal documentation. Get your records together so that you can stand up in court and have a clear head, with the proper documentation.
  • Open your own bank account and secure a credit card. These are easier to do when you are married than they are when you are divorced and they will come in handy.
  • Make copies of ALL-important documents in your home and start your own separate file. This way, you won’t be caught off guard at a later date or be involved in a battle of the wills when it comes to getting the papers that you need.
  • Build a trusted support group of your own. You might want to turn to friends or family that you trust and let them in on your plan. Not only can they offer you a world of insight, but they can also help you through this tough time both before and after the divorce.
  • Build your credit. This may take some time, but is important that you leave a marriage with some sort of credit of your own.
  • Think about your job, and the future of your job. IF you have been a stay at home parent, you might want to start honing some of your skills, and keeping a lookout for jobs that will work for you. It is very difficult post divorce to be on a timetable for finding a job.

These are just a few suggestions. Again, doing some of these things may seem deceptive in nature. The problem is if you tell your spouse you are leaving too soon, you won’t be able to do any of these things and you will find that your post divorce life is difficult to say the least. It is better to take care of yourself, understand what you need and take steps to make sure you are ready than it is to beat your spouse to the punch and be the one asking for the divorce!



5 Responses

  1. I am still living with my husband. He does not let me work so I have no means to make money. If I suddenly start working he will cause me problems.
    How do I start without a means of money? I know it’s Not a clever question: that is my reality unfortunately.

    1. Sell things on local buy&sell groups/apps like Facebook or Craig’s list or even on Ebay. Old things you have around the house or deals you can find in stores. Go to garage sales and find hidden gems or even little things that you can buy for $5 and sell for $10. Get savvy with prices and what things are worth. You can make and sell crafts also. It works as a hobby you like and you can make a little money. If your husband asks for the money just tell him you use it to buy more crafts. Eventually the money will snowball into a good amount over time.

  2. Good info. I’m tired of looking for help and finding all these psychologists trying to save my marriage when I already know it’s dead and has been from almost the start. We already have separate bank accounts and we split the bills. Not a problem at first, but now that I make about 15% less in salary than I did before splitting the bills means I’m footing a lot. So now I’m pushing back and just saying “I can’t afford to pay all of the car insurance for both vehicles…can you help” or instead of buying a lot of groceries and cooking I’ll get him to go pick up something like pizza or burgers a couple times a week (which makes him happy though he’s paying for it.) I was going to have a garage sale, but now I’ve decided to keep them packed up and have the sale AFTER I leave so that he can’t say anything about the money. One attorney advised me (and thank goodness for her) was to think of this as a half-price sale…..don’t go out and purchase a bunch of big items, but if you know you are going to need a bedroom suit or new mattress, at least get that done and ‘fix up the guest room’. Buy new, cheap silverware for every day use and pack your good (or better stuff) in a box. Treat it like a hope chest. New linens, a few new towels. Pack them up and leave them in a corner tucked into the ‘old clothes’ box….just make sure he isn’t going to suddenly get an idea to take it all to Goodwill or something. If you have a friend or family member who would be willing to store a few boxes for you, that would be even better.

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