• by Billie Tarascio •

Start by looking at the big picture.

Simply put, you need to have a plan. It is what I call your ‘big picture’ guidebook. It is going to help you navigate along the road of your divorce and lead you into your next chapter. You are going through a restructure of your entire life emotionally, financially and sometimes geographically.

To begin, I suggest you plan one step at a time.

Step 1: Assess your goals and resources — this is your vision of what your next chapter will look like. Will you live in the same house and neighborhood; want/need to change your employment situation; downsize? Imagine how your day-to-day life will look. Keep in mind both your and your spouse’s resources, so that your goals are realistic and based on the actual resources available.

Step 2: Plan your finances – your financial situation will likely need adjusting. This step can be a very difficult one to think about let alone to project. But, understanding what your – and your children’s — financial needs are is essential. We suggest figuring what your budget is today and what you will need to achieve your goal. If you are going to be living on your own, you must reassess your budget. Budget tracker.

Step 3: Plan for custody — figure out a plan for your children’s lives. What’s going to happen temporarily and long term. Where will you live in relation to your soon to be ex-spouse or partner? That’s going to impact your child custody plan. Think about this when forming your goal in Step 1.

Step 4: Assess your balance sheet — the list of property (assets) and debts that were accumulated during the marriage. Arizona is a community property state. Equitability is the law which means generally both assets and debts are likely to be divided. Nevertheless, not every asset is divided down the middle, but the whole value of the debts and property is most often divided equally. Be honest and thorough. Balance sheet.

Step 5: Protect your privacy – be cautious of what you say and/or publicly post. Think about your reputation, who you really are and how, in time, you will have moved forward with your life. It’s easy to fire off a shot on social media that’s clearly geared toward your ex or your situation. Yet, these posts may be forwarded and could possibly hurt you in the future. And, though it is human nature to talk to your friends and family, be mindful about spreading intimate details. This leads us to our last step.

Step 6: Assemble your support team — the family, friends and professionals you can trust. What type of team do you need to get you through this? Do you need a counselor? Who will be your lawyer? Or, are you going to have one? Who will advocate for your children, if necessary? Surround yourself with people who are level-headed and calm, not those that fan the flames. Think it through, but please do assemble your support team. My support team.

Everyone’s journey is different. This one is uniquely yours. I can assure you that by taking these first steps, your road may be less rocky and even smooth.

Watch for my next post: Preparing for Your Attorney Consultation

Billie Tarascio

Billie Tarascio

Owner/Attorney Available for Mediation