Divorce preparation is as unique as our individual approaches to dealing with the different the stages of life. Some of us just seem to drift from one life chapter to another without any particular readiness planning. For others there are the practical questions like; What will my income picture look like? Where will I live? How will our children be parented? And if you are in the later stages of life; What kind of retirement will I be able to have after the divorce?
These are some basic questions that certainly will need to be answered. Then, there are the more difficult issues that arise about the ending of the marriage and the beginning of a new life chapter that many feel must be planned – for yourself and other family members. Often rearranging one’s social relationships and the family’s post-divorce culture becomes a major theme in the party’s post-divorce picture.
How these questions are answered depends on the unique qualities of each client. For example, if you are a person who relied on your spouse to direct the family’s finances and now recognize a distinct absence of expertise in this area for yourself, it may be necessary to develop an alliance with a financial professional who will be able to provide the necessary assistance in explaining and examining options that will develop during the divorce process. On the other hand, if you were the finance person in the marriage, you will no doubt be able to develop an approach for yourself and your separating spouse even if your separating spouse no longer accepts your expertise on the subject. Accepting this change can be one of the challenges in the divorce process that leads to transformation.
Parenting issues are also a necessary part of divorce planning in families with children. Attention should be given to planning appropriate roles for the children who certainly become participants in the divorce process. Their participation becomes a core life experience for them and should be orchestrated with a great deal of care and attention in order to avoid “alienations “that become permanent life experiences for some children.
Most important, however, is the overall process that is chosen to make the divorce happen. Will you choose the traditional approach or mediation or collaborative divorce. Today, these alternative processes make a big difference in ‘uncoupling’ and will have a lifetime impact.
Choosing the right divorce process is like taking a trip and choosing the method of travel – a car trip is different from a plane trip – which are both different from a bus trip.
The most important message to take away from this blog is to be sure to get professional help before a choice is made.
My office is available for ‘divorce process’ consultations…