Moving always brings some stress and change, but moving during or after divorce can become even more challenging.
You might have legal appointments, personal and family counseling, the physical and emotional needs of children, paperwork, mediation, asset division, and custody hearings. However, with planning, sound legal advice, and a little bit of help, you can navigate a relocation and come out the other side with a fresh start and renewed confidence.
Follow these considerations when planning your move and going through a divorce.
Life is not exactly sunshine and roses during this trying period of your life, but you can keep calmer if you’re able to focus on positivity when facing stresses related to your move, especially if you move with children. Children may feel apprehensive about the changes that they face, and they might not feel excited about moving to a new home or community.
Make moving during or after divorce fun for younger children by making sorting toys and packing items into a game, such as seeing who can pack a box the fastest. You might allow children to color on packed cardboard boxes to keep them occupied while you are busy.
You can also make plans for children who are leaving friends and family to stay in touch. You might get addresses to send letters. You can plan to video chat on certain days. The plans for connection makes children feel more secure.
For older children who are better able to understand the situation, be realistic but cheerful about the days to come. State some of the things you can look forward to. This will help you and your children to see why this move can be good for your family.
Be Realistic About Your Abilities
A divorce often means a change in your schedule. You might now need to work full time, or you might need more time away from a full-time job to provide care for your kids. You might also have changes in your schedule that you did not anticipate, such as the time you spend with your lawyer and at court meetings.
You might wish to be able to do all the moving work yourself, but you simply might not be able to. You might consider hiring some people to pack for you. Some moving companies offer a packing service. Using this service can free up your time and take some of the responsibility off your shoulders.
If you don’t want to worry about dealing with packing and dividing up small personal belongings such as dishes, small appliances, books, tools, etc., you can even hire a company to come and take away things for you to donate or throw out. Sometimes both partners would rather avoid the emotional stress of dividing small items and one or both decide to start fresh.
Seek Legal Advice for All Move-Related Concerns
If you move out of state, you want to make sure that your lawyer is aware of your plans. The laws about moving to a different state vary based on where you go, so you want to make sure you take the necessary action to avoid negative repercussions later.
For example, if you have custody of your children, you might have to inform your former spouse of your intentions to move out of the state, and the other parent could file objections or seek to change the original custody agreement. In other states, you may even need to file a petition to move before you are able to go out of state.
When planning your move, talk to your lawyer about how long these processes could take, because you want to make sure you have plenty of time to meet all your legal obligations before moving day, or you could end up needing to delay your departure, which can be costly.
Get Help from the Right Places
Divorce also brings social and familial changes. You might ask friends and family to help with a move normally, but after or during a divorce, you might not have the same social resources that you did before.
You might ask supportive family and close friends for moving help, but you might prefer to use hired movers or a shipping crate-style moving service to take care of everything professionally. You might need to hire childcare to watch your children as you pack. Depending on your situation and the amicability of your divorce, these could be the best options for you.
Consider Storage to Help With Uncertainty
With divorce, you also need to worry about dividing property between partners. Usually, moving occurs because the law awarded the family home to the other spouse or because you had to sell the home and divide the equity. However, smaller belongings can take some time to divide, and you might wish to move as soon as you decide to separate.
If you are unsure about who will get what property, especially if both partners move to smaller homes, you might consider renting a storage unit to hold items until you know whom they will belong to once the dust settles. This way, you don’t have to move items to a new place only to have to fight to keep them later on.
For more information on moving during or after divorce, contact us at Bekins.