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Moving and Divorce: How to Exit Gracefully

Oh, the awkward moments involved in real-life exit scenes. Instead of making a grand exit, moving during a divorce can reduce us to Steve Martin’s character in The Jerk. We want to say, “That’s all I need!” But then a little voice adds, “except ‘this ashtray . . . and this paddle game . . . and the remote control . . . and the lamp . . .’”

The trouble with leaving gracefully is, we would rather leave quickly, minimizing exposure to our former spouses. We rush through the process, wrestling with emotions that far outweigh the ones we feel about our possessions. However, failing to plan wisely only lengthens the pain and jeopardizes family heirlooms. Conversely, planning now reduces future interactions later, and that alone may be worth the effort.

Therefore, plan big. Get a large moving truck. Hire moving helpers and enlist family and friends. Finally, rent a storage unit. You may not have places for all of your things right away. Having them securely in your name and under your roof – even if it is a storage unit roof – will matter down the road. For a few dinners a month, you can fund a good-sized storage unit.

Take an inventory of the home. Do not forget to look inside closets and storage furniture, such as armoires. Packing may take multiple days, which sounds like a lot of trouble, especially if the relationship has turned dangerous. However, packing is another area where family and friends can help. While they pack, they can also encourage, and with their help the days will be faster and less morose.

When the truck arrives, moving helpers make all the difference. They are not only a buffer between ex-spouses, but they are also the only way to get out gracefully. They exponentially pick up the pace while adding an air of respectability to the unpleasantness.

Right now, you may just want to walk away from your things, borrow a friend’s pick-up and move on. However, upfront effort reduces that feeling of being a jerk and coming back again and again for the lamp and the remote control and the paddle game.