As I sat at my desk wearing my navy blue uniform over my pressed white blouse, the alarm sounded in my third grade classroom. We immediately set down our pencils, stood up, and silently fell in line to begin our procession down the hall and our march down the stairs to the basement of St. Frances Cabrini School. One by one we knelt on the shiny cool waxed floor along the wall of beige tile blocks. We bent forward, covered our heads with our hands, and waited.
As an 8 year old I did not understand that I was a part of our country’s Cold War attempt to prepare the country for an atomic bomb attack from the Soviet Union. Schools across the United States held similar air raid drills for students. I wasn’t exactly sure what I was preparing for, but it was serious and I was ready.
A half century later I notice that September is National Preparedness Month. Across the country communities and businesses assess their risk and plan for disasters, natural or otherwise. I reflect on disasters both real and imagined.
Divorce is the disaster that most don’t plan for.
We may face a divorce because the marriage we entered into is no more—-you no longer share the same vision and commitment for a happy future together. Whether you or your spouse is the first to consult a divorce lawyer, it is most likely because one of you sees the relationship differently then the day you said “I do.” An unexpected disaster.
What many spouses learn from the divorce experience is the importance of being prepared for the unexpected. While in your case the shocking event might have been receiving divorce papers, for another person it may be the shock of recognizing that they have been unhappy for years.
Regardless of how a crisis in relationship arises, people in partnerships are all better prepared when they are better informed.
Questions for all married people to consider asking include:
Do I know the assets we own, including their value?
Do I know all of our creditors, the amounts owed, and the interest rates?
Do I know where our tax and financial records are maintained?
Do I know my spouse’s income?
Do I know our monthly living expenses?
Do I know what types of insurance we have and the benefits?
Part of preparation is risk assessment. If you are concerned that a divorce could be in your future, ask yourself whether it’s time to call a divorce attorney for a consultation for more information.
We will never be able to predict or fully prepare for everything the universe will send our way in this lifetime, but being prepared is useful for all of us. It’s uncomfortable to think about the scary uncertainties which could befall us. But taking the time and energy to fill your storm shelter with information can give you just a bit more piece of mind while enabling you to be more resilient when disaster strikes.