By: Stacey Freeman
When my marriage abruptly ended during January of 2012, little did I know I was about to become a statistic or should I say a cliché. That’s because January is known as Divorce Month.
In actuality, the most popular months, according to research recently conducted by Brian Serafini and Julie Brines at the University of Washington, are March and August. That may mean January is the time when those dissatisfied with their marriages possibly start thinking about divorce and set the proverbial ball in motion, giving the month the bad reputation it has.
Whether you are the one who is being left or the one who is doing the leaving, I offer five ways you can prepare yourself and your family for a divorce. The good news is, the time of year you implement these tips doesn’t matter. The bad news is, you may need these tips soon. So, without further adieu, here they are.
1. Find a lawyer. If you suspect that your marriage is coming to a close, or have recently been taken by surprise, like I was, your first course of action should be to seek representation. Hiring a lawyer isn’t a decision to be taken lightly so be prepared to devote time to the process. Ask for personal recommendations from those you trust and whose opinions you value. Then interview a few different attorneys to make sure you are comfortable with their approach and with them. After all, you may be spending a lot of time together.
2. Consider hiring a forensic accountant. If you or your spouse own a business or he or she is not forthcoming with details about money or assets, consider hiring a forensic account to assist you with researching your full financial picture. Better to have all the facts before your divorce is final than face a post-judgment inquiry.
3. Determine your spending. Your lawyer and forensic accountant, if applicable, will require a detailed report of your monthly expenditures before being able to advocate on your behalf. If you were not the one responsible for paying the bills or, even if you were but did not keep detailed records, putting a report together may require doing research. Leave yourself enough time to compile the information you need and assess where there are holes.
4. See a mental health professional. Ending a marriage is complicated and is a process fraught with intense emotion. And that’s before you bring in the lawyers. Keep in mind that your attorney is not your shrink and that he or she is there to serve a distinct function, which is to extricate you from your marriage with as little acrimony as possible. No matter how hard you try, even in those “best case” scenarios, I can all but guarantee you will experience periods of extreme stress and wish you had unconditional support and a nonjudgmental shoulder to cry on. A mental health professional is trained to do just that. Having a therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist or combination thereof in your corner can make a bad experience a little more manageable. Seek personal recommendations and find the person who makes you most comfortable. Don’t be afraid to switch providers until you do.
5. Enlist support. Reach out to friends and family members for emotional support, even if it’s only a friendly ear you desire. Be specific as to your wants. If you are comfortable, think about joining a divorce support group in your community so you can meet others who are similarly situated. If you cannot find a divorce support group in your town or city, there are many reputable online communities such as DivorceForce to provide you with valuable information about the divorce process as well as connect you with like-minded individuals and a wide-range of divorce professionals.
Regardless of the month in which you begin divorcing, there is a world of resources out there to assist you. All you have to do is ask.
The Divorce Recovery Ladder Workbook and Program were inspired by Susan’s own contentious divorce.
Susan began her professional career in the financial industry working for an International Investment Firm.
After that she was an agency licensed private investigator for two decades where she amassed thousands of court testifying hours.
Topics included are: Realization of the situation | Attorneys | Finances | Children | Parental Alienation | Courts & Evidence | Recognizing Retaliation | Dating Again
The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Susan Shofer | The Divorce Recovery Ladder, Inc. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author (see referring link above).