Once you decide to get a divorce, you may feel isolated. Your friends. Your family. Everyone is married. Yet, you are going to get a divorce. It was a long time coming and you finally decided. Now what? What do you do? Who do you talk to? Who will guide you through this process?
There is no one right answer. To get through a divorce, or even a dissolution, successfully, you need a team of support. You may feel, at times, that you are running a marathon, but you should not feel that you are alone. First, talk to close friends and family. You need to have people that are unabashedly on your side; people that will give you a shoulder to cry on and maybe a couch to crash on. That support is invaluable.
Next, find an attorney you trust. This is going to be an important relationship for the next year or two and maybe beyond so don’t just jump at the first name in the yellow pages or google search. Talk to your potential attorney and ask questions. Make sure you feel comfortable with them. You are not looking for someone that tells you what you want to hear but someone that knows what they are doing and can guide you through the legal process.
Once you have that in place, find a counselor, maybe more than one, especially if you have kids. Unlike your friends and family, you need someone that is not unabashedly on your side. A counselor can give you tools, but not legal advice, on getting through the divorce. They can talk to you about how to deal with situations with your soon to be ex, how to deal with him when he pushes your button, how to respond when she starts dating someone new. IF you need a counselor, the kids definitely need a counselor. If you saw this coming and need counseling, just think about the help that they need in getting through this process. Their world has been turned upside down and ripped apart but you can’t be there for them until you are there for yourself so provide your kids with tools of their own with their own counselor.
In many marriages, one spouse handled the finances. If that was not you, add a financial advisor to your list of teammates. If you are now going to be handling your own finances, retirement accounts, debts and investments (or any combination of these), start the planning now. Financial planners can help you with the short terms and long-term goals you may have and yes, you should have short terms and long-term goals financials, legally, mentally, and otherwise.
Other members of your team may include realtors if you are looking to sell your marital home or buy a new home if you are the one moving out. Look for a realtor familiar with the area you want to move to or are selling in, rather than a good friend. Real estate is a business like any other business.
Rounding out your team is an insurance agent. As soon as the divorce is final, if you were on your spouse’s insurance, you will need to find your own insurance. If you have insurance available employment, talk to HR but, if not, talk to your insurance agent about your options through the marketplace. Your insurance agent can also help guide you with vehicle insurance, homeowners (or renters insurance) and life insurance.
With that you have your starting lineup ready to face any other team and, as with any good team, if you have trust in your team, you will be a success.