Lost. Scared. Lonely. Shaken. Sad. Angry. Bitter. Relieved. Hopeful. Happy. These are just some of the stops along the emotional roller coaster that is divorce. It’s not anything that anyone should have to endure alone. Divorce has become so commonplace that there are tons of resources available to help you survive the process.
Where to Start During a Divorce?
First, let me tell you the one resource NOT to rely on – FRIENDS AND FAMILY! Don’t get me wrong, they’re great for a shoulder to cry on and to keep you distracted and to remind you that you are loved, but their advice is often too subjective, uninformed, and downright damaging to your ability to think straight. Do your best to get advice from objective professionals and NOT biased family and friends.
The first resource that EVERYONE needs during the process, and for at least a little while after, is…
Which Professionals Should You Hire?
A Good Therapist – There is so much emotional trauma and grief caused by divorce that you really need to talk it through with a qualified professional. This is the only way you can hope to form relationships that aren’t doomed to repeat your past. A therapist will help you explore your role in the end of your marriage so you can get clear about your goals for the next phase of your life.
CDFA™ (Certified Divorce Financial Analyst) or Financial Planner
CDFA™ (Certified Divorce Financial Analyst) or Financial Planner – The most common and paralyzing fear that nearly everyone feels in divorce is “Will I be ok financially?” It’s inevitable. Before you agree to any settlement, you really need a second set of eyes and some financial projections so you know what your future looks like. Of course I’m biased and would prefer that you find a CDFA™ trained specifically in the finances of divorce but, like I said, I’m biased.
Online Divorce Resources
The Internet – Divorce has become big business. New resource sites pop up every day offering a wealth of free information, downloads, blogs, referrals, directories, etc. It can be somewhat overwhelming so just pick out what you connect with and leave the rest. Go slow. Be kind to yourself. Also, Meetup.com is a great resource for local divorce support groups. Going to a few is a good idea but don’t let yourself sink in too long. Recovery is supposed to be about getting better and too many people that stay stuck in grieving and never move on. Use a support group to move through the process and then – move forward.
Local Divorce Resources
Non-Profits – Almost every community in the country has a non-profit that offers divorce support resources. Check your local community for those in your area. They can help with a variety of issues.
Family Law Attorney
And of course… A Family Law Attorney – Some couples want to settle the divorce themselves or have a spouse that is bullying them into thinking they are getting the best deal now, before they consult an attorney. This is almost never the case. Find an attorney who practices family law as their main focus. I had a friend who wanted to use an attorney who had argued in front of the Supreme Court, but hadn’t practiced family law in 15 years. That attorney would not have served her well in divorce matters. You get one shot at doing the divorce well, make it count!
This is going to be a challenging time in your life. Ultimately, you will be stronger, happier, and ok – as long as you choose to be. Use the resources available to you to make good decisions for yourself. Today truly is the first day of the rest of your life.