Lost. Scared. Lonely. Shaken. Sad. Angry. Bitter. Relieved. Hopeful. 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. Now that Divorce is so common, there are tons of resources available to help you survive the process with at least some level of dignity.
First, let me tell you the one resource not to rely on – friends and family! Their advice is often misguided, uninformed, and downright damaging to your ability to think straight. Don’t get me wrong, they’re great for a shoulder and to keep you distracted and to remind you that you are loved. All of which you will need during this ride. But, do your best to get advice from objective professionals and not biased family and friends. You’ll come out of this better for it.
The first resource that I think everyone needs during the 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.
- Non-Profits – Almost every community has a non-profit that offers divorce support resources. Just Google Divorce Support Groups. You might also check with your local church. Many have divorce support groups.
- CDFA™ 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 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.
- The Internet – The face of divorce is changing. You now have a number of choices from self-filing, mediation, collaborative and of course traditional adversarial. 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 I know too many people that stay stuck in grieving and never move on. Use a support group to move through the process and then – move on.
- Collaborative Divorce – Again with the “I’m biased” thing. I’m currently serving as President of www.winwindivorce.org I have seen first-hand how positive this process is for a very difficult time in a couple’s lives. The bottom line is that it is better for the couple, better for the kids and better for the budget.
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. Hopefully a better life with new opportunities.
This was contributed by Donald Morris CDFA and financial advisor. Don is President of winwindibvorce.org