The emotions of divorce are vast and wide – but not unique. Nearly everyone who has ever asked for or been asked for a divorce feels similar feelings. Lost. Scared. Lonely. Shaken. Sad. Angry. Bitter. Relieved. Hopeful. Excited. Angry. In shock. 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 with dignity.
There are also resources that are NOT a good idea. When your FRIENDS AND FAMILY find out you are getting a divorce they are going to be full of ideas, tips, tools and stories. They are well meaning, kind people who are trying to help you but mostly, they are not helping!!! They are stirring up fear, bad ideas and likely hurting your case, usually without realizing it. Rely on friends for a shoulder to cry on and a good ear to listen, but not for advice. Do your best to get advice from objective professionals and NOT biased family and friends.
The resources that I think EVERYONE needs during the process and for a time period after are:
- A Good Therapist– Divorce stirs up so much emotional trauma, everyone involved needs an outlet for that trauma. A great therapist is the perfect person to channel those emotions. Not only that, the therapist will help you uncover why you picked the person you didn’t love or why you picked the person who treated you so poorly – so you are not doomed to repeat the same behavior.
A therapist is also the place to take your anger, fear, bitterness and other emotions – NOT your attorney. The attorney is getting paid $350 an hour not to hear how hurt you are, but to help you with your legal case.
Also, Divorce Care is a great tool and a way to connect to others facing divorce and struggling emotionally. Divorce Care is offered nation-wide at many local churches along with Divorce Care 4Kids.
- Certified Financial Divorce Analyst or CDFA™ – One of the most common fears in divorce is “Will I be ok financially?” It’s almost unavoidable. Before you agree to any settlement, you really need a second set of eyes and some financial projections, so you know what your post-divorce lifestyle will be. Divorce is tough and during it we tend to focus a lot on the right now. Hiring the right person for financial guidance will assure you comfort and security for the future.
A CDFA can also use their knowledge of divorce tax laws and taxation of different financial accounts to help clients walk away with more after-tax money than a straight 50/50 split might offer.
Be sure to hire someone with financial knowledge of divorce matters. Often, I see current financial planners write up settlement options prior to divorce negotiations are underway that set expectations too high and it causes a lot of problems in divorce proceedings. It causes issues when you are expecting to receive 70% because he cheated, only to find out you cannot get 70% because of an affair. Having to come down from that expectation along with dealing with divorce is hard, harder than it needs to be.
- 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. Going to a few is a good idea but don’t let yourself sink in too long.
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. Use the resources available to you to make good decisions for yourself. Today truly is the first day of the rest of your life.