Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Being prepared for the, hopefully, unlikely event of a divorce from day 1

We've all heard that scary statistic "50% of marriages end in divorce".  Whether that statistic is accurate or not is for another day.  Today, we are discussing how to be positive that your marriage will succeed, while ensuring that you can be independently successful if you are faced with a divorce. 

First, maintain your financial independence.  This does not mean you need to keep secret money stashed away or cannot be a stay at home mom.  What it means is ensure that you will always be capable of providing for yourself, should you need to.  Not only is this smart in case a divorce does come along down the road, but suppose your spouse unexpectedly passed away tomorrow, you would need to be able to financially support yourself and your family.  One way to do this is to maintain your education.  Let's say you have a bachelor's degree in business administration.  If you are not working, try to take classes to stay up-to-date on what is going on in the business world and how it is changing.  This will help if you suddenly need to find a job and have been out of the work force for some time.  Another important thing you should be doing is having knowledge about your finances.  It is typical that one spouse handles the finances for the family.  However, the other spouse should be well aware of how much money the family has and where the money is (stocks, 401k, etc.).  This will be beneficial to you not only in the event of a divorce, but also during the marriage.

Second, maintain your emotional and personal independence.  It is wonderful, and I believe a very positive thing, to view your marriage as a partnership and a team.  However, you need to maintain some amount of independence.  This means spending time apart, visiting with friends, enjoying your hobby, taking up a new hobby, etc.  It is said that spending time apart strengthens a marriage.  It will also help you emotionally if you do have to go through a divorce.  Without your separate aspects of life, you may be left feeling like you have nothing left in life.  If you have maintained your friendships and your hobbies throughout the marriage, you will have people to lean on and things to take your mind off of your divorce.

Finally, have a plan for YOUR life.  You will most likely plan for your life together as spouses, and I encourage that as well.  However, you need to remember where YOU want to go in life.  What is your dream job?  Where is your dream home?  While planning for your life as spouses, you should not lose sight of what is important to you as an individual.  Your plan may forfeit some of those dreams for what is best for your family.  However, you should remember your goals and dreams throughout and not lose sight of who YOU are and what YOU want.

I know many of you do not want to think about planning for a divorce, especially if you just got married.  This is not planning for a divorce.  This is planning for a successful lifestyle even if you and your spouse are no longer together at some point in the future.  Maintain your attitude that your marriage will succeed; however, maintain some amount of independence and hopefully, if you do have to go through a divorce or lose your spouse unexpectedly, you will be slightly more prepared.