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When divorce is on the horizon: Think like a single person

Getting a divorce is a lot more complicated than just deciding that your marriage is truly over.

You have to start thinking like a single person again. Depending on how long you've been in your relationship, that can be hard to do -- but it's absolutely necessary.

In order to "think single" again, these are the steps you have to take:

1. Break up online

This means changing your passwords on all your accounts, especially your email and social media. It's smartest to buy a separate laptop if you and your spouse have been using the same computer -- that will keep you from accidentally saving passwords to the computer and giving your spouse access to what is now your private life.

2. Separate the finances

This means canceling your name as an authorized user on your spouse's credit cards and vice-versa. It may mean opening some new cards in your own name. It certainly means ending the joint bank account or relegating it to "household expenses only" category until you have separate households entirely.

3. Start saving your money

You are now about to re-enter the world with only one income at your disposal. You are going to need things -- not just the first and last month's rent but also kitchenware and furniture, towels and bedding.

You're also going to need to pay your attorney and cover at least half of the court costs involved in the divorce. Your attorney will likely quote you an amount for his or her retainer, but a contentious divorce could drive your costs up much higher.

4. Begin making new goals

It isn't just a good time to take stock of your life goals -- it's essential that you do so. Your plans have, for however long you've been a couple, included someone else. Now, you have to take stock of your available options and see what goals are still possible (or even desirable) once you're flying solo.

Thinking single isn't easy to do when you're accustomed to picturing your future with your partner. However, the sooner you begin to think that way, the easier it will become to move forward with your new life after your divorce.

Source: GoodMenProject, "7 Things to Do When You and Your Spouse Decide to Divorce," accessed Dec. 28, 2017

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