To most people, the stress of divorce is a traumatic and scary concept. The thought crossing your mind, saying the word aloud, or even picking up the phone to call an attorney can be a heart-pounding experience.
As Family Law Attorneys, we notice that, for most of our clients, this feeling of anxiety and fear generally comes from the unknown: “will the kids be ok?” – “will I be ok?” – “will I find someone new?” – “will I have enough money?” – “am I really doing this?” – “what’s next?”
To help answer these questions and ease the fear, it is imperative to build and establish a team of support around you. While this team may take different forms, here’s the “Big 4” to have in your corner from my perspective:
1. The Right Attorney
Selecting an attorney is a critical step in working through the stress of divorce. When selecting an attorney:
a. Make sure to ask questions and become educated, whether or not you have been through a divorce in the past. When talking about your life, there truly are no silly questions and the right attorney will take the time to help you understand key concepts.
b. Communicate around strategy and process. Family law requires a true partnership with your attorney. With our clients, communication and explanation are crucial so that 1) we, as lawyers, are properly engaged on your thoughts and concerns, and 2) our clients know the status of their case.
c. Above all else, make sure that you feel comfortable with your attorney. Do your homework, check their credentials, and talk with them to make sure you have the right fit. Most times, we insist that our clients initially come into our office to meet face-to-face and discuss their case. Other forms of communications such as email and phone calls lose the personalization and the ability to connect with the person across the desk from you.
2. A Counselor or Therapist.
There is an unwarranted stigma about seeking counseling/therapy when going through a divorce. Do not feel shame in reaching out to a mental health professional for help. To be able to share your feelings in a safe space, to have someone make personalized behavioral recommendations for you and to otherwise assist you in processing the trauma of a divorce is invaluable.
We almost invariably recommend counselors or therapists to our clients for themselves and/or for their children. We often find that our clients in counseling/therapy are able to think more openly and objectively, which is incredibly beneficial when discussing strategy and options with your attorney.
3. Financial Professionals.
During a divorce, things will change financially, and certain questions have to be answered: “How much can I afford?” “How much should I be saving?” “What do I do with my estate plan?” “Can I buy a new house?” Fortunately, there are plenty of professionals who can help you pre- and post-divorce: mortgage brokers, financial advisors, estate planners, real estate agents and the like. Working with the appropriate financial professional is key to learn the new language of finances and/or to manage your estate moving forward. Added bonus: they can work with your attorney to help create strategies and goals which suit your specific needs.
4. Friends and Family.
Surrounding yourself with those who love and support you is so helpful when moving through the divorce process. Word to the wise, however: try not to compare your case to others, it will only stress you out more. Each case is unique with different circumstances, personalities and issues. Comparing your case to your friend’s is like comparing apples and oranges. If you have questions about your case, speak with your attorney.
Going through the stress of divorce is a scary proposition. However, you can lessen your fears and anxieties, while heightening your confidence and knowledge, by creating a strong team around you. The right attorney, the help of a counselor, financial professionals and your friends and family all make for a strong team to help you through the process.
Jordan D. Rosenberg, Divorce and Family Law Attorney