So, you have decided to separate – or had it thrust upon you. What now? What are the first ten steps to take after separation?
My suggestion for your very first step would be to call the mediator! There will be plenty of practical arrangements that need to be agreed regarding your children and your finances. Calling a mediator will help you start this process.
Even if you don’t think your ex is ready for mediation, a call to the mediator will help you clarify your next steps. I am always happy to have a brief call to point you in the right direction, or we can book an individual meeting for a more in-depth discussion around your next steps.
The following suggestions are the most common first steps:
- Gather financial information. Begin to gather information about your finances. What assets do you have, what income, what are your debts and expenses? You can only begin to work out a way forward when you know what is there. Your mediator will tell you what information you need to gather and how to find it.
- Where are you going to live? Think about where you are both going to live going forwards, and (if you have them) where the children are going to live. Then work out whether you can afford to live as you propose. Remember that you will need to find a solution that provides both of you and the children with suitable housing that you can both afford.
- Obtaining a mortgage. Can you obtain a mortgage in your own name? If so, how much? Have a conversation with a mortgage broker to get a rough idea of whether this is likely to be an option.
- State benefits. Are you entitled to any benefits now that you are separated? Click here for more details.
- Work? What is your longer term plan regarding work? Are there any opportunities to increase your earnings?
- Children’s arrangements. What arrangements would you like to agree regarding the children? What is going to work best for them? Think about the different ways of co-parenting and which might work best for you.
- Counselling? Think about some counselling support. Even if it was your choice to end the relationship, you may need some support to help you process your emotions and navigate your negotiations with your ex.
- Support for you. Gather your support team. Think about what you need in your circumstances and then make sure you have a good person to support you in every area. Possible professional support team members are a good mediator, therapist, mortgage broker, lawyer, financial advisor, pensions advisor. You may also wish to think about your support team for extra childcare, emotional support, having fun, keeping fit etc
- Self-care. Work out your own self-care plan. It’s really important that you look after yourself well so that you are in a good place to make good decisions and also to support your children.
- Call the mediator! And if this list feels overwhelming, then go back to the beginning and call the mediator!
To speak to me, email firstname.lastname@example.org and let me have your number and a good time to call you, or you can call me on 07706 513496.