Divorce hurts, and the pain resulting from divorce is often magnified if the divorce in precipitated by infidelity. Often, once infidelity is discovered, the aggrieved spouse is so shocked and hurt that he or she is unsure how to react or what to do with the information. If you have recently discovered your spouse’s infidelity, below is a list of 5 things you should do to prepare yourself for a potential divorce.
1. Realistically evaluate your options. Is your marriage salvageable? Will things improve with counseling? How will your spouse respond if confronted about his or her affair? These are all questions that should be carefully considered when determining what will be your best option going forward. Don’t respond emotionally. Take time to think things through, evaluate your options and formulate a plan.
2. Seek individual and couple’s therapy. Marriage counseling or couple’s therapy may potentially help you and your spouse reconcile by helping you to address the infidelity along with any other marital issues and giving you the tools to work through those issues. In addition to marriage counseling, individual therapy is also recommended because one-on-one counseling from a qualified professional will equip you with the emotional tools necessary to help you deal with the trauma of your spouse’s infidelity regardless of whether you ultimately seek divorce or not.
3. Get tested. Not only does a spouse’s infidelity have the potential to have a lifelong emotional toll on the aggrieved spouse, but a spouse’s infidelity may also have life threatening consequences. If your spouse has had intimate relations with someone else without the proper protection, you may be at risk of contracting HIV or any number of other sexually transmitted diseases. Additionally, if you and your spouse become intimate after you have discovered the infidelity, protect yourself sexually.
4. Know your rights. Speak with an attorney who specializes in divorce and family law. It is imperative that you get a clear understanding of exactly how a divorce may impact you legally and what your options are regarding child custody, child support, alimony, equitable division of marital assets.
5. Order your finances. Upon consulting with a divorce attorney, it is likely that he or she will discuss how marital assets may potentially be divided upon divorce. However, many attorneys overlook discussing ways spouses should prepare for their financial future post-divorce. Start establishing credit in your own name, set up a separate checking and savings account, begin putting money into savings, and ensure you will have sufficient income to support yourself and your children post-divorce. These are all ways you can begin protecting your financial future even before you decide whether to proceed with divorce.