Lost? Scared? Lonely? Shaken? Sad? Angry? Bitter? Relieved? Hopeful? These are just some of the stops along the emotional roller coaster that is divorce. Divorce is not anything that anyone should have to endure alone. Now that divorce is so common, there are many resources available to help you survive and move through the process with at least some level of dignity.
One resource not to rely on? Friends and family. Their advice is often misguided, uninformed, and sabotages your ability to think straight. Friends and family are great for a shoulder to cry on and to remind you that you are loved but they can keep you distracted and in fear. Being in fear keeps you from making decisions based on your values and needs. It’s possible that your best advice will come from objective professionals; not biased family and friends out to protect you looking for ammo to defend. You’ll come out of this better if you can think clearly and find ways to avoid unnecessary drama.
1. A Good Therapist – Often the first resource needed during the divorce process and for at least a little while after is a good therapist. There is just so much emotional trauma caused by divorce that you really need to talk it through with a qualified professional. 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. This is the only way you can hope to form new relationships that aren’t doomed to repeat your past.
2. Mediator – During the process of your divorce (the period between someone deciding there’s going to be a divorce and your divorce decree) the two of you are going to need to make decisions about how to split your lives and assets/debts and how to take care of the kids. Many couples don’t know what they need to make decisions about or how to do it. That’s why they may reach out to a mediator or other professional. A mediator can be incredibly valuable in working through the divorce pieces and getting unstuck where there is emotional upset or disagreement. Whether it’s the house, the retirement or child custody or spousal maintenance/support (also called alimony), a mediator can help you work through the pieces.
3. CDFA™ or Financial Planner – The most common and paralyzing fear that nearly everyone feels in divorce is “Will I be ok financially?” Before you agree to any settlement it can help to have a second set of eyes so you know what you’re going to be looking at. Of course I’m biased and would prefer that you find a CDFA™ actually trained specifically in the finances of divorce but like I said, I’m biased.
4. The Internet – Divorce has become big business and many resources are available. 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 can be a great resource for local divorce support groups. You can even use a couple if that’s helpful to you. Use a support group to move through the process and then – move on.
5. Non-Profits – Almost every community in the country has a non-profit that offers divorce support resources.
For Minnesota divorce, we have:
https://www.divorcecare.org/ which is a faith-based divorce group.
Specifically for dads there’s
Check your local community for those in your area.
6. A Limited Scope Attorney. A limited scope attorney can be used to get perspective and legal advice. Other professionals may be able to provide you with legal information but they’ll be prohibited from giving you a legal opinion (telling you what you should do—if you want an answer to that).
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 and it may come as a process. Use the resources available to you to make good decisions for yourself. Today truly is the first day of the rest of your life.
As a mediator, CDFA and divorce coach we can uniquely help through the financial, emotional and legal process of divorce. Want a better way to do divorce? Contact us!