Establishing Goals and Priorities for Your Divorce Before It Starts

If you’ve made the decision to get a divorce, you may wonder where to start the intricate and emotionally-charged process. Beginning with a clear understanding of your goals and priorities can significantly impact the outcomes and ease the journey ahead. 

This post provides guidance on how to establish this clarity before your divorce proceedings begin.

Get Clear on Priorities

Uncertainty can complicate the divorce process. If you're unclear about your priorities, it becomes challenging to articulate your needs and negotiate effectively. Taking time to get specific, realistic, and clear-headed about your priorities is pivotal for successful negotiations.

Consider using this worksheet as a framework to document what’s most important to you during this time, including your priorities around:

Completing this before the divorce begins, during a less emotional period, provides a solid foundation for decision-making. If you can also understand your spouse’s top priorities, you may be able to reach agreements faster.

Establish Goals

Understanding what truly matters to you is key to establishing goals for your division of property, investments, debts, and parenting plans. Focus on critical aspects that align with your long-term well-being rather than attempting to attain everything or focusing too much on your short-term needs. For example, while ensuring that your spouse is paying the mortgage this month might be top of mind for you, work with professionals to consider what you need in the parenting plan long-term to ensure your children continue to have a meaningful relationship with both parents. 

Take your goals a step further by understanding, to the best of your ability, what each of your goals entails and how you can reach them. For example, if refinancing or purchasing a home is your goal post-divorce, understanding requirements for mortgage lending and building a future budget will be important.  

By having a few clear goals, you can identify what is non-negotiable and what you're willing to compromise on during legal negotiations.Working with a financial professional can also help you understand what long-term financial wins truly mean and how to balance those with short-term financial needs.

Align on Strategy 

Collaborate with your attorney and other professionals to develop a strategy that aligns with your goals. As mentioned, flexibility is key during negotiations, so craft an approach that emphasizes deeper interests rather than rigid stances. For instance, if you are seeking spousal support until your children reach a certain age, explore alternative ways to bridge any income gap rather than assuming it's solely your ex-spouse's responsibility.

Navigating the complexities of divorce becomes more manageable when you establish clear goals and priorities from the outset. This clarity empowers you to make informed decisions, negotiate effectively, and work towards a future aligned with your long-term vision.

By approaching your divorce with clarity and purpose, you pave the way for a more stable and empowered future.To support the process, use our worksheet as a starting point for setting and prioritizing your interests during divorce. For more personalized guidance, reach out to us for a free consultation.