Stressed in Divorce? You probably have an information problem.

Being uniformed in your divorce sucks.  There’s no nice way to say it.  Anxiety and fear in divorce are often caused by not having access to certain information, and it can affect a person’s legal and emotional wellbeing.  The opposite is also true.  With access to the right information, a person becomes empowered to make informed decisions that they can stand behind. The key is to recognize when access, or a lack of access, to certain information has become disempowering in your divorce.  Here are three areas to keep an eye on:

Legal Information

The divorce legal system is intimidating, especially if you’ve never been through it before.  How does it work?  How do I start my divorce?  Does it cost anything?  How long does it take?  Legal questions like these, without answers, create anxiety.  Luckily, verified and free answers to these questions and more are likely available at your county court’s website.  Look for a ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ or ‘self help’ section about divorce as a starting point. 

Your Information

Going through divorce means collecting and categorizing your personal financial information.  What are my total expenses every month?  How much credit card debt do I have? How much do I need to live on?  An accurate snapshot of your income and expenses, along with your assets and debts, will help answer these questions.  It is unsettling to not have a handle on your financial state of affairs.  Do yourself a favor and start compiling a list.

Your Ex’s Information

Thoughts about what your ex’s finances looks like will eventually manifest, if they haven’t already.  What is their actual income? What credit cards do they have that I don’t know about?  Do I know about all their bank accounts?  Some of that information may be available to you now, if you can collect it ethically and safely.  Otherwise, both parties will be eventually be legally required to disclose and exchange all financial information.