When I was getting a divorce I was scared to death about not having enough money. I was watching every penny and the thought of hiring an attorney and the huge retainer it would involve made me wonder if I could even afford to get a divorce.
Unfortunately, now as I look back I realize that this is definitely a case of being penny wise and pound foolish. I went blindly into the divorce process not understanding all of the planning I should have done first. I also didn’t understand how fear, anger and resentment could make the divorce more costly both financially and emotionally.
This is exactly why I became a divorce coach. I made almost every mistake in the book and fell into every pitfall and I want to stop other women from going down this path. While at first glance it might seem as if you can’t afford to hire people to help you navigate the divorce process, the reality is that it will save you a lot of money and energy in the future if you have negotiated a fair and equitable settlement now. Going back to court post judgement is expensive and there are no guarantees.
I can’t stress this enough – MAKE SURE YOU’RE HAPPY WITH YOUR SETTLEMENT NOW!
Here are the professionals that should make up your team:
Your attorney – Do not simply choose the cheapest! Ask friends for recommendations but keep in mind that their situation is different than yours and might require an attorney with a different style. No matter what, carefully interview the potential attorneys to be sure that you feel comfortable with them, that they listen to you rather than talk at you and that they truly want to work with you to reach a fair outcome rather than just run up their bill. I strongly recommend hiring an attorney who does collaborative divorces.
Your financial planner and accountant – You must understand your finances going into a divorce. An accountant (and I encourage you to select someone other than the who you currently use with your husband) will help you understand the tax implications of child support versus alimony and what to expect when you’re filing single rather than married. A financial planner will work with you to figure out your financial goals for the future in regards to retirement and help you determine what you will need to do to make it a reality.
A parenting coordinator/family therapist – If you have kids the parenting plan is undoubtedly the most important part of the settlement. This part should be completed before you start working on the financial aspects of the divorce settlement. Numerous studies have shown that the level of conflict during the divorce is the number one factor in determining how well kids will manage.
Let me say this again – It is not the divorce itself but the conflict between you and your spouse that is the greatest indicator of your kid’s well-being.
A parenting coordinator or therapist can help you in minimizing the conflict, developing coping mechanisms and drafting a parenting plan that is in the best interest of the kids. He or she can also help you look at future scenarios that, if you have small kids, you might not consider right now.
Your divorce coach – You are at your most vulnerable and scared during a divorce. People whom you consider friends and even family members might not be able or willing to give you the support you need. There are also the practical concerns of re-entering the work force after possibly having stayed home for several years and adjusting to a different financial lifestyle. As a divorce coach I have two important jobs – to help you take the emotions out of the divorce process so that you can make informed and realistic decisions and help you create your plan for a happy and successful future. Unfortunately too often women make choices out of fear or hurt that lead them to being pressured into a divorce settlement that’s not in their best interest or fighting too long and wasting thousands of dollars. I can help you put together the best team for you and be that sounding board that women often need.
To learn more about how to work with me and schedule a complimentary 30 minute Discovery Session, click here.