I am a prepper. I learned to admit this several years ago and even had a business that provided disaster preparedness information, training and products. Before your mind fills with images of me locked in a steel bunker surrounded by canned food and ammunition, let me clarify that I was not that kind of extreme prepper. I was just a guy, dad and husband who felt it was a personal and family responsibility to be ready for tough times and disruptions. This lifestyle taught me some valuable lessons for preparing for divorce that I apply to aiding clients.
All Disasters Have Commonalities
Before going into specific tips, you need to understand that disasters all have some things in common. Whether the disaster is a personal situation like a divorce or the loss of a job or an external disaster like an earthquake or hurricane, all disasters represent a disruption in day-to-day life that will impact everything that you do. While some disasters are significantly more dire that put food, water and shelter at immediate risk, all disasters will stress you on mental, physical, emotional and financial levels. The good news is that under almost all circumstances, a prepper’s approach will lessen the impact and help facilitate a better “what comes after”. So, how do you prepare for divorce?
Recognize that Divorce Is a Threat
Let me start by saying that I am not pro-divorce any more than I am pro-tornado. The reality, however, is that divorce happens, as do tornadoes. When you recognize that disaster is a reality, it is significantly more possible to approach preparedness with an open mind.
When I had my prepping business, a great number of potential clients could not take the leap to accept that they could be faced with a disruption and chose to be unprepared. If you have been to the grocery store lately, you can see impact of that in the form of panic. I like to tell people that divorce is just one of the scenarios that can impact you. Even if you end up reconciling, you will be ready for other events because the fundamentals are the same. After all, if you are ready for a tornado, you are probably also ready for an earthquake.
Prepare for Divorce by Knowing Your Destination
I have always found that having a goal or desired outcome is key in any process. When I started prepping, I realized preparedness was not about the event, but rather, where I wanted to be post event. Many inexperienced preppers get fixated on the event. They get completely fixated on meteors hitting the earth, super-volcanoes, pandemics or other catastrophes. The best preppers I know focus on the outcome such as having their family’s safety or having the resources to start over. I tell my divorce clients that divorce, like a physical disaster, is just a moment in time and that it will eventually end. To prepare for divorce, you need to plan and make decisions based on what they want from their post-divorce life as opposed to fixating on the storm they are in.
Find Where You Are Currently
In every planning process, you must have a baseline. For example, the map inside a mall commonly has a “you are here” to help navigate where to go. With prepping, I found that accurate assessing your current situation was key to recognizing deficiencies in readiness and rectifying them. Often, the degree of unpreparedness caught my client’s off guard, but they found solace in knowing this. My current divorce clients often have the same realization.
Instead of food, shelter, security, communication and medical, they become aware of how little they know about things like their mortgage and home, medical insurance, life insurance, retirement accounts, pensions plan and debt. Combine that with just the daily aspects of life like school commitments, kids’ activities and the monthly budget for a household and you have a lot of considerations. Before jumping into divorce, you need to have a handle on all of this. You need a “you are here” for your life.
Make A Plan to Prepare for Divorce
It is trite and overused, but hugely accurate to say that without a plan your goal is a wish. If you have ever tried to quit a bad habit or lose weight, you likely know that just winging it is rarely successful. When you break down the steps required to meet your objective, however, your chance of success goes way up. I found with prepping, many people knew that they needed to be prepared but just did not know how to get there and, as a result, they did nothing and continued to be unprepared.
I see the same thing in divorce. My clients know that there is the likelihood that they will face a divorce in the coming months and they know that they need to do a lot to prepare, but they don’t develop a plan and end up unprepared when the actual event occurs. Statistics show that most people consider divorce for a minimum of 6 months in the lead up to filing. That is a lot of time to plan.
The Process Is as Important as the Plan
Much of my preparedness methodology comes from my military experience. Anyone who has ever worn a military uniform knows that the military plan well. The interesting thig is that the final plan matters much less than you would think because curve balls happen. By using an extensive and comprehensive planning process, however, you gain an awareness and attitude that help address unexpected challenges.
Seek Help From People Who Understand
Rarely in life are there things that need to be a solitary journey. With all the coverage of bombastic over-the-top preppers, I found that a lot of the realities of the prepper community was and frankly is lost. I found most of the prepper community to be rational, knowledgeable, resourceful and generous with their time and information. That is not to say that the help was always free, but it was rarely if ever cost prohibitive. After all, it is fair to expect to at least donate financially to someone who is providing me value. I have seen great parallels with divorce. The resources for help in generating and executing a divorce preparedness plan are huge. Some are free and some are not but know that you can get assistance in your journey to become fully prepared.
Disasters come in all shapes and sizes. Unlike a natural disaster the decision to dissolve a marriage is not a random event. I often refer to divorce as the disaster that you know is coming. This means that preparation is not just a good idea, but a necessity. With a good comprehensive divorce plan, your chances of a positive new start increase substantially and even if the divorce doesn’t happen you will be ready for many of life’s other unexpected disruptions.