This guest column was written by Betty White.
When kids are involved, it becomes twice as hard. You need to notify everyone, pack up all of your belongings, and find the right relocation company while keeping your kids happy. There is a silver lining, though. The hardest part is over. You have made the decision to follow your instincts, leave the past behind, and start over. The rest is just a matter of organization and communication.
Have an honest conversation with your children.
There are many people and institutions you should notify that you will be moving (your company, your kids’ schools, etc). But the first ones to inform are your children. It is very important that you handle this conversation well. Instead of postponing that uncomfortable moment, you should tell your kids about the divorce as soon as possible.
It will be uncomfortable no matter when you tell them. If you do it early, they will at least have more time to process and accept this huge change. Talk to your kids together with your spouse. Present a united front. Answer their questions. Avoid arguing in front of them and be honest about everything. Make sure they understand that this is what’s best for the whole family.
Focus on the positive instead of the negative. For example, if the kids are moving too, emphasize the advantages of their new house. Is it bigger? Is there something the old house doesn’t have? Perhaps they can finally get a pet? Perhaps they will be living closer to a beloved family member or friend?
Most importantly, although it’s a cliché, assure them that their parents still love them very much, equally.
Set a time frame.
When it comes to the physical part of the move, setting a date is an important first step. Once you know the date, you will be able to plan around it. The pace will depend on how much time you have at your disposal. Naturally, the more time you have, the easier it is to find help. Even if you have very little time, there is no reason to panic. With proper organization and the right helpers, even an urgent move is manageable.
Decide who gets what.
Unfortunately, this step often involves a lawyer. But if you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse are ending things on good terms and communicate well, it should be easy to agree on who gets what. Be honest with yourself and each other when deciding who needs a certain item more. Usually, if you bought it, you get to keep it. Of course, you can make your own rules if you want, as long as you compromise and split your belongings evenly.
Before moving out after the divorce, you may want to get rid of sentimental items, such as photos of your ex and wedding gifts. Eliminating visual reminders of the failed marriage will help you heal and move on faster. If your ex doesn’t want these items either, sell, donate, or toss them. In case you want to keep such items, put them in a box and take them with you, but do not unpack them while the divorce is still fresh.
Ask someone to help you move out after divorce.
Speaking of help, decide whether you want the pros, your friends, or both. For example, if you are moving from Washington DC to another city or state, it is recommendable that you call a professional relocation company. But, if you are staying in Washington DC and none of your belongings are too delicate, it can be done with the help of a few friends. But even in that case, you should leave the most delicate items, such as valuable artwork or antique furniture, to professional movers. Also, if the decision to split was sudden and you need to get out of there as soon as possible, moving with professionals is the fastest way. They can help you pack and move out after divorce in a single day.
Follow these tips on moving out after a divorce.
- Inspect the items you are moving in order to determine the size, volume, and other specifics of your move.
- Determine what your moving budget is. Perhaps it is easier to move over a few months if you cannot afford to move everything at once.
- Do some online research and ask around when picking a moving company to help you move out after a divorce. Recommendations are free, yet crucial for a successful move.
- Call the movers as early as possible. Late bookings could be more expensive or even impossible to make.
- Get a few free estimates before making your final choice. Explain all the details of your move without leaving anything out so as to get the most precise estimate.
- Pick a company that is reputable, insured and licensed.
- Keep your kids involved by asking them to help you pack if they are old enough. Younger kids will be safer and calmer in a separate room or the neighbor’s house while the movers do their job.
Stay positive and keep your friends close.
Focusing on the positive rather than the negative is an attitude you should adopt in general, not only when discussing the divorce with your kids. For example, think about dating someone new or finally being able to decorate your living space however you want.
Remember that the end of this chapter marks the beginning of a new and better chapter. There is a reason your marriage did not work out – had both of you been happy, you wouldn’t have broken up. If you are having a hard time going through this change, turn to your friends and family for emotional support, or find a therapist you can confide in. Surrounding yourself with positive people who love you will help you move on with your life more easily.