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. As Divorce has become more common, there are now 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! They are trying to offer help but sadly, they are often misguided, uninformed, and can be downright damaging to your ability to think straight. Be particularly cautious of leaning heavily on friends or family that have walked their own divorce. It’s great to learn from someone’s experiences but I cannot stress enough that every couple and situation is different, especially in divorce. 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.
A 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.
- CDFA® or Financial Planner (CFP®) – 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. It can be overwhelming to make such big decisions independently, knowing they are final and can’t be undone. Working with a financial offers you peace of mind that you’re making the best financial decisions possible, given the situation. Of course, I’m biased and would prefer that you find a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA®) that has been trained specifically in the finances of divorce but like I said, I’m biased.
- Consult with a Family Law Attorney – Divorce is done within a legal process, so it is important to at least consult with your local family law attorney for guidance. There are options in Texas the do not require you to retain an attorney, but if you choose to go that route you want to make sure you have done a lot of homework. Not all divorces or complicated but you want to make sure a DIY divorce doesn’t land you back in court post-decree and costing you more time and money than had you worked with professionals from the get go. If you determine hiring your own mediator is the best for your situation be sure they well versed in divorce.
- Non-Profits – Almost every community in the country have non-profit organizations that offer divorce support. In Houston, Texas, we have the Houston Legal Aid Center | Houston Legal Aid Center. Check your local community for similar resources in your area.
- 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 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.
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.
For more information about working with a CDFA® contact us at Next Step Divorce Solutions.