In life, surrounding yourself with the right people can mean the difference between happiness and sadness, success and failure. It is no different when you experience a divorce. Should you surround yourself with Negative Nellies who only see the bad in everything that happens? Or with Positive Pollys, realistic folks who keep you grounded and focused on what is important and good in everything around you? During this emotional, often overwhelming time, the wrong people can have a huge impact on your future happiness and on your ability to move on. So surround yourself with supportive people who look out for your best interests, not only in your personal life, but also in the professionals you choose to include on your divorce team.
Personally, your team should include loved ones who bring out the best in you. People upon whom you can depend and whom you trust. To whom do you reach out when making important decisions, especially when you are stressed and distracted and possibly unable to make the best decisions for yourself? It is important to have people who will listen to you, be there in an emergency, help you get things done, and, once in a while, relieve or even remove you from the stress.
You may also need someone who can provide you with financial support during this strapped time.
Legally, your team will include your attorney. Choose wisely, because there are many options. Do you want a Pitbull litigator who will focus on ripping your spouse apart in court? Or would you prefer a more peaceable professional who will explore less warlike (and costly) options, like collaboration and mediation? This choice can mean the difference between years of expensive litigation that completely destroys your already fragile relationship and a quicker process that actually improves your relationship with your soon-to-be-ex and your ability to co-parent your children. When interviewing lawyers, look for an attorney whose goal is to help you to reach a fair and equitable agreement as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. Also, choose someone with whom you click, as you two will spend many hours together and you will share your deepest thoughts and secrets; you need someone you can trust to understand your interests and concerns.
When choosing a financial professional, choose one who is aligned with your attorney, especially if you have chosen a peace-focused lawyer and process. If so, you and your spouse can share the cost of a like-minded financial neutral on your divorce team. If you have specific financial issues, choose a professional with expertise in such issues.
Your divorce is likely to be the most emotionally exhausting period of your life. Many divorcing couples seek professional help for this aspect of the divorce process, as well. As with your attorney, when retaining a mental health professional, find someone with whom you connect.
In a divorce, different counselors can play different roles. A facilitator will guide your divorce team throughout the process. She can help both spouses define their goals and interests and communicate with one another. She cannot provide therapy when facilitating.
Alternatively, a therapist wears a different hat. She provides counseling to help you cope with the divorce and any specific problems or personality issues you may have.
Depending on your circumstances, you may find a realtor helpful to include on your team. Or a mortgage broker. Or a child specialist. You may also wish to include a spiritual counselor on your team so that you can maintain your faith at a time when it may be fragile. Whatever your situation, consider what your issues are and determine what expertise you need to include on your team to help you make the best decisions for your family.
Surround yourself with the right people on your team, and you will enjoy a far better chance of concluding your divorce having set the stage for your fresh start, excited and thrilled to begin the rest of your life!
Have more questions about your divorce team members or divorce options? Order a copy of War or Peace today and learn the do’s and don’ts of the divorce process.
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About this week’s author Joryn Jenkins.
Joryn, attorney and Open Palm Founder, began her own firm here in Tampa after a 14-year career in law, two of which she served as a professor of law at Stetson University. She is a recipient of the prestigious A. Sherman Christensen Award, an honor bestowed upon those who have provided exceptional leadership in the American Inns of Court Movement. For more information on Joryn’s professional experience, take a look at her resume.