Organizing Your Life and Your Divorce

March 16, 2010

By Emily Matson, Family Law Attorney

It’s no secret a big fan of the Today Show. This morning’s show included a segment on finding more time in the day for busy working parents. A lot of the show’s suggestions were about organizing your life.

What is Organizing?

Organizing is about anticipating your needs and preparing to have what you need to fulfill those needs. It means having a place to put your plates and dishes. It means having the things you use most at the front of the cupboards. It means putting all those remotes in one basket. You will always know where to go for these things.

When you’re facing a divorce, you need organization more than ever. Likely, you are suddenly in the position of having a lot more information that you had during the marriage, whether it is about the financial state of the marriage, the other spouse’s spending habits, or the reality check that your house may not be worth what you thought it was. Organizing this information is one way an attorney helps guide you through the divorce process.

Organizing Your Information at the Start of a Divorce

At the beginning of the divorce process, you can start organizing by first collecting a lot of necessary information to give to your attorney. You will need to collect all your financial information, including taxes for previous years, W-2s, recent pay stubs, credit card statements, and bank statements. You will need titles to property, including homes, cars, and boats. You will then need to collect personal information, like social security numbers for you and your family members, dates of birth, bank account numbers, important dates in your family’s history.

Organizing Your Future to Prepare for After Divorce

Once you have collected information about your past and present, you need to start organizing for your future as well. Start keeping a budget, which you may or may not have had to do before. You will want to know how much you’re spending and when. Make sure to think about expenses that may only come once a year, such as license fees. If you’re looking for a program to help you, I’d recommend reading this review of 10 online budget tools by Dough Roller.

If you have children, start keeping a calendar that you can keep track of parenting time on, and important events in your children’s life. One possibility is creating a Google Calendar that you and the other parent can share.

Really, anything that is causing you anxiety and stress can be better managed by anticipating the cause of the anxiety and doing something to prepare for it. A little organizing can help ease the transition from a troubled married life to a more peaceful single life.

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