Written Exclusively for It's Over Easy by Sam Brown
Country singers often write about losing the girl, the truck, and the dog. The country song of 2020 is how the coronavirus, unemployment, and divorce all hit at once. Perhaps sheltering at home together was too much to handle. The saying, “not if you’re the last person on earth” may have new meaning for you.
If you’ve decided you want to get divorced during a pandemic in one of the most economically challenging times in the history of the planet, you’re clearly done with your relationship. If the divorce was sprung on you, the best revenge is getting over it faster and better. Regardless of the reason, you’re about to learn how to reinvent yourself in this unusual time — and come out stronger than ever.
Prioritize the Problems
It’s all too easy to get overwhelmed by the storm that’s hitting you. But the last thing you can afford to do right now is wallow in self-pity. Don't get me wrong, we're human and you're allowed to feel emotions. You can even curl up into a ball, cry and rage for a couple of days, but your priorty once you get some of that out of your system, is to figure out what you can do to help yourself to move on.
Prioritize what your actual challenges are. Make a list with two columns. List out the problems you can do something about on one side and the issues that are out of your control on the other. Prioritize the problems you can do something about right away and put everything else on the back-burner. And most likely, the most important thing to do right now is to shore up your finances and get a new job.
Find Another Job Fast
Nothing about our economy is normal right now and finding another job will be harder than before. Essential work is in high demand — depending on your skills, the medical field or nursing jobs, working in a supermarket, or doing deliveries are good places to try first. If you don’t have any luck with those positions, you may have to get creative and take on a gig to make a few bucks here and there.
Regardless of the work you find, remember that it comes with at least two perks — you’ll make money to take care of your personal expenses and it will give you something to do to forget about the divorce situation if at least only temporarily.
While you look for work, take advantage of the unemployment benefits available right now for many people impacted by the coronavirus. You’ll need to file an unemployment claim in your state that will cover you until you can work again, but the money will provide you with some relief in the meantime.
Move Out or Downsize
If you’re still living with the person you’re about to get divorced from, it may be best to completely cut ties for your well-being. Unless the divorce is amicable and you’ve decided you’re more like brothers and sisters than husband and wife, there’s no point in sheltering in place together any longer. However, before you move out, make sure you are aware of how that might affect your date of separation, or your divorce in any way.
If your partner doesn’t leave or they’re the one who owns the property, move in with family or friends. Or find a new place you can call your own. Downsize from your current situation to reduce your expenses by renting a smaller home or finding roommates. Cutting back on your expenses is crucial when you’re hit with a pandemic, divorce, and unemployment, all at the same time.
If you’re thinking of moving out of state, consult with a divorce attorney first. Filing for divorce from a different state may complicate the process. Just because you move doesn’t mean the divorce won’t follow you — you may have to go back and forth for divorce-related proceedings. And if you have kids, you may not be able to leave while you sort out the custody and visitation schedule of your mutual children.
Take an organized approach to packing. Pack one room at a time, label all the boxes and don’t overfill them so you can easily lift or move the box.
Understand the Divorce Process and Take the Path of Least Resistance
Divorces can be messy. And the messier they become, the longer they take. If you really want to get on with your life and put the relationship behind you, aim for an uncontested divorce. You’ll save time and money if you and your spouse can agree on the big issues.
Splitting your financials without needing the courts to divide your assets or coming to an agreement on custody or what type of support you and the kids will receive isn’t as difficult as it may seem. You and your soon-to-be-ex can save money by figuring out these things yourselves. However, if you find that you cannot work it out between the two of you, hiring an attorney or a mediator is worth considering the next step. Unfortunately, both of those options are more expensive than doing it yourself and may lead to the process being drawn out longer than you may like.
Lean on Your Friends and Family
The current social distancing requirement can make this difficult time even harder. Just because you can’t get together in the traditional way doesn’t mean you can’t rely on your friends to get you through these times.
Use Skype, Messenger video, or other video chat services to connect with friends. Round up some iced tea, Rosé or agua-fresca and schedule a video date with your favorite crew for some support and laughter. There is also stuff online like the Next Chapter, Life After Divorce video series full of information, tips and tools to help you move on after a bad break up.
Hang in There, Things Will Get Better
Dealing with financial uncertainty, a divorce, and a global pandemic may have been an unreal scenario just a few months ago. But you never know where life will lead. All you can do is keep moving forward the best you can. Take care of the practical matters at this time, rely on emotional support from your friends and family, and remember that this is all temporary. Things are likely to get better sooner than later. You’ll probably look back years later and even laugh. Keep reminding yourself that the steps you take now are the beginning of your new and better life.
About the Author
As a seasoned professional writer, Sam Bowman specializes in divorce and health topics. His life long goal is to make critical information accessible to everyone. In his spare time, he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.