Take a deep breath and take a look around. You are not alone. Here’s how to get started putting together a team to help get you through this.
Divorce can be one of the most stressful times of your life. Some liken the process of going through a divorce to getting over the death of a loved one; others feel like it is the start of a new life and a very hopeful and happy time.
Either way, going through a divorce can strip away some existing support systems and leave you feeling overwhelmed and under-resourced.
It can thrust you into a seemingly unknowable, dynamic situation in which you must balance extreme emotions while simultaneously raising children and perhaps, planning an entirely new life for yourself.
- If you have been out of the workforce, you might need to restart a career or find other work to support yourself and your children. You might also need to find a new place to live, locate new and reliable childcare or learn how to balance your budget, perhaps for the first time.
- While you are trying to manage your day-to-day life and jumpstart this new and perhaps unexpected life change, your day might also be filled with court appearances and demands on your time to produce endless documents for your divorce case.
- If you are already working, you may be concerned that this tremendous distraction could cause you to be fired.
- And, all of this is happening when you are likely emotionally spent, possibly suffering from situational anxiety and depression, while managing your children’s handling of the stress, too.
So, what can you do to help yourself through this?
Take a deep breath and take a look around. I believe you will find you have more support to draw from than you might have realized.
Ask for help! Figure out how delegate some of your workload. This will alleviate some of the stress.
Start by asking your close friends and family for their assistance. Can a family member help with childcare? Perhaps a friend can help you freshen up your resume or look for a new apartment.
Then, use your existing network and ask for referrals to build out the professionals you will need for your Divorce Advisory Board.
There is no particular order of importance, but after you find the first trusted professional, ask for other recommendations for the other parts of your new Divorce Advisory Board.
There are a few essential “board members” you will need.
Your attorney should be your most trusted advisor. S/he should be knowledgeable about the law, responsive, and, most of all, truthful. When you ask a question, she should have the guts to tell it like it is instead of telling you what you want to hear. Your attorney should be a strong negotiator, strategic, and willing to go to court if your circumstances call for it. She should also have the ability to collaborate with other professionals that will be part of your trusted team. She can also recommend others who can help.
In addition to your attorney, and dependent on your unique situation, other professionals that should be considered for your advisory board include: mental health professionals, financial planners, therapists, career counselors, real estate brokers and insurance agents.
In addition to asking for recommendations from friends and reaching out to your social networks, you can also do your own research. These days, many professionals are reviewed by their clients and other professionals online.
For example, a guide to finding a lawyer that’s right for you may be avvo.com.
You may also benefit from joining a divorce support network. Since there is so much opportunity to network virtually, it may be a great time to join a group online.
There are also many nonprofit organizations that exist to help people just like you! That includes Dress For Success for career guidance, or the free Savvy Ladies helpline for any financial issues you are having.
VERY IMPORTANT: If you or your children are in danger or victims of domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Abuse Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE.
Remember, you are not alone. You can do this. Get started building out your support network and putting together your Divorce Advisory Board as soon as you can. You will be very glad you did.
Previously published in Dress for Success newsletter.