Some of those stigmas still exist, she says, so remember that divorce doesn't define you.

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Ask your attorney when and how it's best to gather this info first, though. "Raw emotions will heal and legalities will be completed, but the financial impact of poor decisions, or default decisions due to lack of understanding, will last a lifetime," she warns.

Step one: Thoroughly understand your current cost of living the divorce proceedings start. Even with carefully planning out your future expenses, something surprising may pop up.

"If you don't know what you'll need in the future, you won't be able to ask for it and you surely won't get it," she says. For example, your husband may be able to boot you from his health insurance plan, leaving you with an added cost of as much as $1,000 per month.

Caitlin, 55, from Tarrytown, NY, recommends requesting a one-time payment, separate from alimony.

Your kids won't tell you how they really feel about the divorce, but their behavior will. So monitor your kids' actions to understand how they're dealing.

"Children feel a sense of responsibility for the breakup no matter how much the parents state it wasn't about them," says marriage and family therapist Lesli M. Watch out for little ones regressing in their behavior—acting younger, wanting to sleep in bed with you—or showing anger toward siblings and peers.

"It amplified the concept of a broken home." She wishes she had made plans to see her mother or a friend—or taken a vacation—to take her mind off spending the holiday by herself.

So make sure you stay busy during that difficult time of year.9.

Divorce statistics shed light on the number of marriages per 1,000 that end in a given year.