As a divorce lawyer, I’ll be the first to admit that my services are expensive. You may also be using the services of therapists and accountants, who also charge for their services. What all these experts share is the wish to help you get through the stress of your divorce with as little wear and tear as possible.
Experts also share another common characteristic. We are probably all asking you to step out of your comfort zone and approach problem-solving from a different perspective. The reason for this is that most marriages, by the time they reach divorce, have parties who are using dysfunctional communication and approaches to problem-solving. To help you into the future, we are asking you to change the way you look at your marriage, your finances, parenting your children and future communications. We are also asking you to let go of your anger about the past. As a wise friend once asked me, “What is larger; the rear-view mirror or the windshield?” I frequently remind my clients that they are looking through the rear-view mirror. The future is through the windshield.
Another common obstacle to moving forward besides not letting go of the past, is failure to rely on your experts. Whenever anyone asks us to leave our comfort zones, we tend of resist. When we have family and friends who are eager to support us, meaning the old way of doing things, it’s easier to rely on their advice rather than the advice of the lawyer, therapist or accountant/financial planner. I frequently hear that when my family member or friend went through his/her divorce, something different happened than what I am advising the client to do. No doubt this is true, because every divorce is different.
The future is scary. Change is scary. However, whether you were the party to initiate the divorce or whether you were the party to whom divorce happened, change is inevitable. Divorces occur because one party’s needs are not being met. In other words, one party (sometimes both parties) is/are not happy in this marriage. That is not necessarily the fault of the other. It’s just the way the two of you interact at this point.
Your professional team has a great deal of experience in making the necessary changes and helping you change your family’s and particularly your life for the better. So, rely on your professionals. Thank your friends and family for their support. Talk to your therapist about why making the transitions that are needed is so difficult and how to implement the needed change. Talk with your financial professional about the necessary financial adjustments and best tax planning. Talk with you lawyer about the legal challenges and how best to mitigate them. Talk to all of them about how you and your spouse can settle these issues yourselves, rather than having a judge or other third-party decision-maker make decisions for your family.
If you feel that the services of any of your professionals do not meet your goals or your needs, discuss it with them. If it cannot be resolved, then find another professional to help you.
Occasionally, I encounter clients who enjoy the game of sparing with their professional. This is destructive, expensive and counter-productive. You are expending energy that you need to do your job, devote to your family and care for yourself to a needless power battle. I often remind them that they could finance their children’s college education or mine. I appreciate all contributions, but I prefer they save the money to invest in their children’s education.
Work with your professional team to bring about needed and positive changes. You will look back on the divorce process as a necessary experience to make needed improvements for your life.