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Why moving can be so difficult for divorcing couples

Filing for divorce often seems like a surreal experience to many spouses in that they have a hard time believing that they will no longer be married to the person with whom they previously envisioned spending their entire life.

However, when the reality sets in that the divorce is going to happen, this sense of disbelief is often replaced by a very real and very wide range of emotions.

Not surprisingly, these differing feelings -- ranging from happiness, anticipation and relief to anger, guilt and sadness -- can cause divorcing spouses to feel worn out both physically and mentally, and contribute to already elevated stress levels.

Unfortunately, all of this can be exacerbated when it comes time for one person to actually pick up and move out of the marital home. That's because the spouses can argue over who gets what and replacement costs, feel a sense of great sadness when viewing or boxing up items with sentimental value, or experience resentment if the move will result in a smaller living quarters.  

The good news to all this, however, is that experts have identified a few steps that divorcing couples can take to try to make the moving process that much easier and spare themselves unnecessary anxiety.

  • Save yourself time, money and stress by resisting the temptation to hold onto items just because you can and instead be willing to work with your former spouse to try to reach mutually acceptable property division decisions on household items.
  • Sit down to create a comprehensive list of the household items you would like to keep and will likely need, and make immediate arrangements for those items on your list that aren't contested by your former spouse.
  • Be sure to isolate children from any discussions or disagreements about the move, and who gets what household items. That's because they are already coping with their own anxiety about the new living arrangements.
  • Consider retaining the services of an appraiser if you disagree about the value of certain household items.
  • Assemble a strong support network -- family, friends, professionals -- to help you through the move, and act purposely.

Whether you are actively considering filing for divorce or would like to learn more about certain divorce-related issues such as child custody or property division, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible.

Source: The Richmond Times-Dispatch, "Avoid a tug-of-war in divorce moves," Peter Bacque, Oct. 25, 2014

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