Do You Want a Divorce?

Every marriage goes through periods of difficulty and it may have nothing to do with outside forces causing strain, you may just be stuck in a rut.  Unfortunately, we have entered a period in our culture where divorce is acceptable and common, so when things get tough or not fun anymore the only natural solution is to get a divorce…right?!?

My husband would agree that we have had some ups and downs, but in our short 7 years of marriage there has been one notable year that was our first real test.  Three years into our marriage a job opened that allowed us to transfer to Houston, my home (my husband was just glad to be back in Texas). The downside to the move was that I was the only one with a job, we used every penny of our savings to move home, and my husband was contemplating a career change. My parents graciously let us stay with them until we could figure out where in the vast city of Houston was best for us to settle into. One-month passed, then another, then another and our plight had not changed.  With each passing month my patience for our status grew thin and my feeling towards my husband’s lack of employment grew from support to understanding then to frustration and finally anger. Nine months into this “challenging time” we experienced what was probably our first real big fight and I said and thought things, including divorce, that I NEVER thought I would allow to cross my mind. No, I didn’t really want a divorce and I didn’t mean most of the things that I said, but how many couples do you know that hit that first real test of their marriage and choose to bow out? It goes back to a phrase that I am sad to say I have heard more than once, “if it’s not working you can always get a divorce”. If the thought crossed my mind at all then that must be what I want, right?

Thankfully my husband and I were able to work through that time and are still happily married but what if; what if I had fallen into societies trap?  Have you found yourself in that situation where maybe you have thought the D word or even threatened with it, and now the situation has come to the point you are heading down a road you never really wanted in the first place.  

If you are not sure you want a divorce I would encourage you to seek out wise counsel before making a decision that you can’t undo.  If you haven’t already done so I would seek out a local family therapist or church counselor.  Divorce is a huge financial decision, a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst®, can help to give you a better understanding of what it may look like to split assets. And of course, a local family law attorney can help you to understand the legal issues you may face throughout a divorce.  Marriage is not always easy, but it is worth fighting for.

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3 Fears about Divorce

Have you heard the song “Fear is a Liar” by Zach Williams?  If not, find it online and take a listen.  The chorus has become my new anthem.

“Fear he is a liar
He will take your breath
Stop you in your steps
Fear he is a liar
He will rob your rest
Steal your happiness
Cast your fear in the fire
Cause fear he is a liar”

No matter what you find yourself going through, whether it be personal or career growth or a rough circumstance, fear can take many shapes and forms to stop us in our tracks. Divorce is hard, no matter which way you look at it, but allowing fear to control your decisions, the process, and/or your relationships can be detrimental.

1.    Fear can take your breath…Stop you in your steps

In a stressful situation where stress and anxiety run high, as well as every other emotion, FEAR can strike. Instead of the typical ‘fight or flight’ mentality, we become frozen. Here you are in possibly the most challenging time of your life having to make quite possibly some of the most important financial decisions you will have to make. Fear, you bet. My encouragement to you is don’t freeze. Focus on ONE STEP at a time. Surround yourself with good counsel, and I don’t mean just the attorney kind of counsel. Seek out others who can help to guide you financially and emotionally through this process.

2.    Fear is a liar

Don’t believe the lie. God made you capable of survival. You may not understand or grasp everything all at once, but Rome wasn’t built in a day either. As you head down this road begin to educate yourself a little at a time.  Begin collecting statements and do your best to understand what you own. You may have never handled the finances but that does not mean you can’t. Begin budgeting, start with an excel spreadsheet or free budgeting app. Try your best to learn about what you own and your budget.

3.    Fear will rob your rest…steal your happiness

When I became a parent and we were struggling through the ‘newborn phase’ I had several family and friends tell me “it’s just a phase, it won’t last forever, just get to the next phase”.  It is easy for me to become consumed with my circumstances and I often have to remind myself that whatever I am going through is not forever. Divorce is a difficult, but it will pass and there can be happiness on the other side.

Start by casting your fear in the fire. Don’t become consumed by the next ten steps, focus only on the next step.  Seek out good counsel, such as an attorney, mediator or Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® and start to educate yourself in the areas you feel most uncomfortable.   

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Why the CDFA® Designation?

Starting a business is exciting and terrifying all at the same time.  If you are a parent, you know what I mean. It’s like the moment you see that first double line on a pregnancy test and immediately the sense of pure joy and complete terror sweeps over you. That’s what it feels like to take the leap to start your own business.

So a couple of years ago I decided that I could either continue to ignore God’s direction or be obedient and at least take the first step by studying and receiving the Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® designation.  Thankfully I passed all exams right before the birth of my second little boy. As I adjusted to becoming a Mom of two under the age of two and maintaining some sense of normalcy in my career I put off doing anything until the new year. Kind of like that diet I would start as a new year’s resolution. Well weeks passed, then months but the constant push to go beyond just obtaining the designation kept creeping up. Reluctantly I moved forward and with each step I made, deciding on my company name, setting up my LLC, and getting my logo, the joy and excitement started to outweigh the fear, at least most of the time. 

So why, why would I, happily married with two sweet boys and no divorce experience of my own, decide to become a CDFA® and seek to work with people going through divorce? The answer, although it took me a long time to see it, was simple. I love people, I love helping people and more importantly I want so badly to reach individuals that are in a dark and difficult time in their life and be a light. Light. When I started down this path the scripture “your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” constantly came to the forefront of my mind. I initially wanted to utilize the word ‘light’ in my company name but kept coming up short on how to use it. Then my amazing Dad offered a solution. Why not use the meaning of the scripture instead?  You see, our understanding of that scripture is not that God gives us a beacon of light to direct us.  When the scripture was written a ‘lamp’ was nothing more than an oil lit candle, it didn’t offer a bright light but instead just enough to take One Step at a time. So here I am, Next Step Divorce Solutions, offering a light to those that are struggling through divorce. 

I was blessed with the skills and knowledge to offer financial planning guidance and education to individuals and couples. So, as you try to piece together your expenses and your financial information for your divorce attorney consider this, what if you had a financial expert that could take this burden off your shoulders, who could come alongside you to make sure you fully understood your financial situation and how your divorce settlement would affect you and your family now and in the future? What will you choose to do? What will be your Next Step?

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