Best Divorce Advice For Women (That Mom Won’t Tell You)

by Lauren Cook-McKay | Last Updated: October 17, 2021

Financial Advice | Parenting Advice | Taking Care of Yourself | Legal Advice

 

So your marriage is toxic and you can’t take it anymore. You are ready to leave. He has driven you past the point of no return. The top reasons you may want a divorce can include:

Regardless of what has led you down this path, you are done. Before you jump on the divorce wagon, there is pivotal advice to which you must adhere. This advice is the difference between a going through a divorce from hell and divorcing with dignity and coming out a better version of yourself.

Here is the best divorce advice for women (that mom won’t tell you):

picture of a women getting divorce advice

Financial Advice

Financial preparation may be the most important part of divorce! As easy as it may seem to say “I want a divorce”…you must prepare yourself ahead of time. Doing anything on impulse surely results in a bigger problem down the road.

You may not be aware that divorce can be incredibly costly. In addition to bleeding your pockets dry, the process of divorce is excruciating and can be dragged out if you have an uncooperative spouse (which, let’s face it, that’s probably why you’re divorcing them).

READ MORE: State specific divorce guides

Preparing yourself financially is the most important thing you can do before dropping the ‘D’ word.

Here is proven financial advice from the pros:

Budgeting

Before the divorce begins, you must prepare your budget. To begin, start by prioritizing your:

This is going to be stressful but you can do it!

Order all of your financial priorities first and foremost. Then you will get an idea of the money you owe, how much you need and how much is left over. This crucial step will save you hell in the long wrong in addition to ensuring you are not caught off-guard.

A certified divorce analyst can help you outline these expenses and is your best bet for financial planning through your upcoming divorce.

Start Saving

After you outline your financial budget, your next step is to START SAVING. Divorce will bottom both of you out, so make sure your bills are paid in the event and prepare for any surprise expense that may come your way.

READ MORE: How to get a cheap and quick divorce – so you can move on

It is a great idea to open a checking account in your name. The joint account is now in the past so it’s time to begin anew on your own and for your children.

It is not a bad idea to open a credit card in your name as well. You can never be too prepared as you can expect your ex-husband to try and hit you where it hurts—in the pockets. Rarely do men play nice when they are being left by their women.

To efficiently save, you need not one, but TWO types of savings.

1. Emergency fund

This type of fund is for when you need emergency money—and fast!

An emergency fund can be referred to as “the backbone of strong personal financial plans”. Therefore, this is unbelievably important to have. Life happens, and fast. So you must be prepared for emergencies.

picture of an emergency fund

For example, you blow a tire. The average person does not prepare for an emergency of this sort so it certainly wouldn’t have made it into their budget. So plan for disaster before disaster strikes!

Another situation you do not even want to imagine—but can horrifically become your reality…you lose your job.

Going from a two-income home to a one-income home can be tough enough as is, so imagine you lose your job on top of it.

This emergency fund can help offset that initial blow. The emergency funds can float you until you can replace your job with consistent income.

Emergency funds aren’t there to solve all your financial woes but they really come in handy when life hands you sour lemons.

2. Savings Account

Your savings account will be there as a cushion. This can be used for long-term investments such as buying new property or perhaps even a college fund for your children. Don’t forget that one day they made need braces too—and getting those pearly straight whites ain’t cheap.

Be the Budget states that savings accounts are a great place to keep your money secure and safe. They are also great ways to accrue some extra interest and plan for the future—especially after a divorce.

There is no guarantee your ex will help you pay for your kiddos college in the future, so a savings account is a great way to plan. The biggest bonus? Savings accounts help curb unnecessary spending.

Gather Your Financial Documents

There are a plethora of financial documents you need to gather before you go through a divorce. You do not want to miss this step!

Here are the financial documents you need to get yourself prepared for your upcoming divorce:

Check Your Credit Report

The next step is to check your credit report. Although divorce does not affect your credit, Equifax states that not paying your joint credit accounts, that will affect your credit score!

If you were not in control of the finances during your marriage, knowing where your credit stands will reveal what debts must be paid. These debts can be addressed during the dissolution process to save you the headache in the future.

Deciding Where To Live

So you are both living in the marital home but then the divorce happens. Are you looking to stay in this home and kick out your ex-hubby or are you wanting to relocate?

If you have children, the best bet may be to stay in the marital home to not further subject your children to the changes they are inevitably going to experience.

If your home was purchased together, it is considered ‘community property’; therefore, both you and your husband have interest in the home. If you are going to stay there, you are responsible for paying your ex-husband for their share of the property. Yes, this is a bummer but at least you get the house!

But what if you cannot afford the home without your ex? It’s time to refer to that budget you put together up above. Knowing your budget and what you can afford is the right place to start. See what you can afford and go from there.

Do You Need a Job? Or More Pay?

Is your husband the sole breadwinner? Or does he bring home more money than you? Either way, it’s time for you to figure out how to bring in some (more) money! This may be a scary step for you but in the end, this is a liberating step for you.

You may be thinking “But I’ll receive alimony and I’ll be all set!” WRONG. You must eliminate that type of thinking as you cannot determine what you will receive or if you are even entitled to any.

Alimony and child support may not cover all of your bills and necessities, so now is the time to think about what it is you want to do.

Let this be an exciting step for you. You have your choice of whatever you want to do without a peep from the peanut gallery any longer. You will now support yourself. You are woman, and the world shall hear you roar.

Break Out the Prenuptial Agreement

Ah, the notorious prenuptial agreement. If you and your husband choose to sign a prenuptial agreement, now is the time to break it out. You must review this document in detail with your divorce attorney.

picture of a woman reading prenuptial agreement

Check to see if your state offers premarital agreements without consideration. There are extenuating circumstances that can indeed make your agreement valid.

However, some situations can invalidate the agreement—so check with your legal team.

How Much Alimony are You Entitled To?

Marriage.com shares that alimony is simply the payments your former spouse makes you during your divorce. In certain situations, you may receive alimony temporarily. Other situations may afford you permanent alimony depending on your situation and the state in which you reside.

This spousal support helps financially maintain your life during and after the separation.

Many factors are considered when determining the amount of alimony to which you are entitled. For example, if your spouse was the only one working and you were a stay-at-home mom, the judge will consider you being unable to reasonably meet your own essential needs.

They will assess the situation and the lifestyle you are used to and determine the amount you receive to maintain your life after the divorce is final.

Parenting Advice

Now you may not believe you need help with parenting your children after a divorce—but this is in the best interest of you and your children.

You may not realize how difficult it is for your children as they experience their world being torn apart. They are going to need as much support as they can get as they adjust to their new lives.

With the proper parenting advice, you all can still live a happy life—and an even happier one after the divorce!

You and your ex must come to terms with the fact that you will be co-parenting and that the needs of the children are the most important—even more important than both of your own.

Be the Best Co-Parent You Can Be

A Friendly Divorce shares that successful and happy co-parenting is possible! Every child deserves to have two loving parents—even if they no longer love each other.

Here are several things you must consider to properly co-parent with your ex:

Give Your Kids A lot of Support

Now, here is even more important information. Your kids should be the ultimate priority throughout the divorcing process.

Yes, you will experience an emotionally taxing time during divorce — but imagine what your children are going to go through.

Beyond the explanations of “your other parent and I love you very, very much and this is not your fault”, your children will naturally feel the burden of the separation.

Children may not possess the level of understanding needed to know that this is, in fact, the best decision for them too. They will see their family crumbling and their stability failing. It is YOUR job to support your children.

No matter how angry, tired or finished with the situation you may feel, your children matter more.

picture of a mom and kids in kitchen

To give your children a lot of support, start by:

Explaining the divorce.

Your children may be confused when they hear you and your spouse or getting a divorce.

Psychology Today suggests that you explain in a straightforward way what is going to happen. Be sure to tell them that none of this happening is their fault and that both parents love them immensely.

BOTH you and your spouse need to have these conversations with your children, not just you. For example: “We are just fighting too much and it is not making anyone happy. We need to all be happy so we are going to have separate houses. You get to have two houses now!”

Throwing in something to ‘look forward to’ can assist with softening the blow.

Hiring a therapist.

Your children will surely need the extra tools beyond what Mommy says. Having a safe space to share their feelings is nothing but beneficial both now and in the long run.

Therapy can prevent years of self-esteem and abandonment issues if you provide it for them as the divorce occurs—and not years down the road when they are adults and already damaged. Be aware that this decision must also be run by your spouse unless specific situations suggest otherwise.

What We Recommend
Online Therapy That Works - Start Getting Happier Now!

Considering a divorce can really take an emotional toll on even the strongest people.

If you are in need of therapy with both privacy and convenience, we recommend Online-Therapy.com. Their incredible service gives you access to instant professional help, on any device, wherever you are in the world.

Visit Online-Therapy
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Finding a divorce support group.

Children naturally lean toward children of their own age. So what better way for them to feel relatable and safe than being in a room full of children who are experiencing the same thing as they are?

Divorce support groups for kids provide the necessary tools for coping with the oncoming divorce. Kids’ Health states that when children feel seen and heard, their risk of low self-esteem and problems in the future significantly diminishes.

Avoid Bringing the Kids Into Divorce Drama

No matter what happens next, DO NOT bring your kids into the divorce drama.

Bringing your children into the drama leaves long-lasting psychological effects and damages their well-being. You need to check your ego, vindictiveness and anger at the door—they are no longer welcome and your children deserve better.

As hard as it may be to push your angst toward your almost-ex to the side, you have to. Remember that you have the advantage of emotionally nurturing yourself through this divorce—your children do not.

Additionally, do not allow yourself to be consumed by the divorce. Keep doing fun things with your children.

Go out of town, to the zoo or your favorite shared place with your kiddos. Keeping their lives as “normal” as possible is of the utmost importance for them—and you.

Taking Care of Yourself

Now that the kids are okay, you must ensure that you are as well. Have you ever heard the saying “You can’t pour from an empty cup?” or that you must first put your oxygen mask on before assisting others?

Yes, that applies here as well. You must first take care of yourself so you are capable of taking care of everything else around you.

To start, here is what you need to do:

You Need Emotional Support

Everybody needs somebody. Your closest friends and family are a great place to start. Before the divorce begins, make sure someone in your inner circle knows and is on-call—you’ll need them.

It is a great idea for you to also enlist the help of a therapist for yourself. As you enter a new journey, it is imperative to understand the mental checklist you need to make to assure you keep yourself as positive, healthy and mentally sound as possible.

Divorce is a grueling process and therapy can help you navigate your way to a brighter, happier and I’m-finally-rid-of-them life.

Maintain or Improve Your Health

Be sure to keep your mental health at the forefront. Talkspace shares that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to therapy and that progress takes time.

Therefore, make it a goal to stick with therapy, even after the divorce is over. Each chapter of your life will require a different set of skills as you embark upon another journey unknown.

In addition to your mental health, now is the time to improve your physical help. Have you heard of “revenge bod”?

picture of a divorcing women getting in shape

As cliché as it may seem, getting yourself in even better health than before you were married (and divorced) is pivotal to your happiness and quality of life. The goal is to have vitality and longevity, so now is the time to maintain and improve your health.

Quit the bad habits i.e. smoking, scrolling mindlessly on social media for hours and become more proactive toward bettering yourself.

Stay Off Social Media

Yes, you read correctly. Get off social media!

There is not a worse platform to compare yourself with others than social media. Right now you are going to be fragile, so remove any ammunition toward self-deprecation and comparison.

A study at Penn State found a correlation between social media usage and self-esteem. The results are as expected: social media can damage how you feel about yourself. Plus, anything you post online can and will come back to haunt you.

Take a break from living in the land online and instead put your focus on your healing and growth and bettering the lives of your children.

Learn About This New Version of Yourself

What may feel scary at first can actually be incredibly liberating.

Divorce Magazine states that you indeed may lose a sense of your identity after the divorce is complete.

Please know this is perfectly normal! You are enduring a huge shift in your life—so why would you stay the same? This is your chance to become who you have always wanted to be.

To begin, mourn your previous self. Wish her well, tell her thank you for guiding you up until this point and most importantly—forgive her! This painful realization can actually be one of the biggest healing experiences of your life. It is time to rediscover yourself and where you belong.

To learn about this new version of yourself, you must:

This may not be a smooth transition, but never a calm sea did a skillful sailor make. Use this time to rediscover yourself and immerse yourself in what makes you happy.

If you are unsure as to what that is, make a list of things you would like to try and go from there. The answers are out there waiting for you.

Become an Independent Woman

There will be no doubt that you are used to having someone around. This may be one of the most difficult parts to adjust to but have no fear—it is entirely doable.

Remember all of those times you had to give up doing what you wanted because of your spouse? Those days are long gone. Now is the time to embrace your newfound independence and run with it.

picture of a very independent woman

Start by just listening to music and dancing around the house. The Better Health Channel shared that not only does dancing improve your physical health—it actually improves your mental functioning and psychological well-being.

Anything you put off as a married woman, go do it. Your sense of self will greatly improve as you step into a newer, upgraded pair of dancing shoes.

Amicably Stand Your Ground

It may sound impossible, but you can do this. Choosing the high road always pays off. Therefore, give your best effort to stay amicable with your ex; especially if you have children together. The more you can manage this, the easier and happier your life will be.

Yes, you no longer have to deal with your ex-spouse on that level but on some level, you still do. So keep the complaining and attacking at bay and focus that energy on yourself.

If your ex challenges you, choose to still stay amicable. Adding insult to injury or ‘winning’ does nothing for the endgame and can make you miserable in the moment. You may not be able to be friends after the divorce but that does not mean you have to be mortal enemies.

Don't Hold Onto Negativity

Just like Elsa said: Let it go!

Holding onto emotional turmoil is a recipe for disaster. The divorce is over—it’s over. Change course and put any energy holding onto the old and build anew. You may feel angry as hell after the divorce so find a healthy outlet to get it all out.

Healthy outlets after divorce can include:

It may feel easier to stay angry and negative but in the end, negativity will hold you back from the happiness you deserve. Put your attention on accepting the end and ridding yourself of the burden of negativity.

Legal Advice

This is one of the most crucial steps you must take. Ensuring you take the proper steps can make all the difference to the success of your divorce. If you miss this step, you can be in serious trouble in the future.

Educate Yourself About the Divorce Process

Before you do anything, learn about the divorce process. Legal processes can be complex and taxing so make sure you read up as much as you can.

You as the petitioner will be filing for divorce. The moment you file the necessary paperwork, the divorce proceedings have begun.

The other party, the respondent, is served the paperwork. The easiest divorces are the ones where both parties agree to the divorce terms; however, they are not always possible.

This will be a hell of a ride so the more you prepare yourself, the more you will be ready for whatever lies ahead.

Hire a Reputable Attorney

Research reputable attorneys near you. The right legal team is the difference between hell and a little slice of heaven. Your legal team is your support and guiding hand.

Do not just pick anyone at random. Conduct the proper research and interview several firms. You will know right off the bat which is the right divorce attorney for you.

Don’t Self-Incriminate

This is a big one: DO NOT SELF-INCRIMINATE.

The number one way to do this is on social media. STAY OFF OF SOCIAL MEDIA. If you have children, this is even more crucial.

picture of a warning to stay off social media

Do not say or do anything that can incriminate your word, your credibility or your authority. Any misstep in this regard can cost you alimony, child support—or the custody of your children.

Comply With the Court Orders

This may seem obvious but it must be said. No matter what the judge says, do it. If you have any questions, ask your legal team (that is what you are paying them for).

Not complying with court orders—either you or your spouse—can result in being in contempt of the court. You do not want that.

Final Advice for Women Going Through a Divorce

Divorce is hard. But no matter what happens, you will survive. You now have a new lease on life and get to be exactly who you are. Anything you refrained from doing as a married person you are now free to do.

With the right legal team, support system, preparatory work, information gathering, co-parenting strategies and self-help, you will coast through your divorce.

Yes, you can expect your spouse to fight you every step of the way, but isn’t that the reason you are divorcing them?

Shift your focus onto yourself and your children as you embark on a new journey as a single woman.

As scary as it may seem, consider this newfound freedom a blessing. You are now awakening from the nightmare into a beautiful, ex-free dream.

 
Lauren Cook-McKay is the Vice President of Marketing at DivorceAnswers.com. She holds a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) from the University of San Diego and applies her training in private practice to helping couples struggling in their marriage. She strongly believes there is hope in all marriages and strives to provide therapy to couples that will lead them back towards a loving marriage, or an amicable divorce that brings peace and closure. Connect with Lauren on LinkedIn here.