Moving through a divorce can be numbing and paralyzing, leaving you wondering what your next steps should be. Amidst the emotional upheaval of a divorce is the logistical unsettling as well.
Many of the decisions that need to be made during a divorce procedure should have professional advice in advance so that you can be in the best position to move forward with the next chapter of your life. And many of these decisions are connected to others. For example -- selling a marital home can have tax consequences, or may not be the best idea for your future plans. You will want to discuss your decisions and ideas with your team members before you move forward.
Make a plan to get a team in place to support this transition in your life. You want to emerge emotionally AND financially strong.
And don't think that you can't afford to assemble a Team: the truth is, you can't afford NOT to assemble one. Get it right before you start.
"The Big Three"
A Legal Advisor: Find a legal professional to discuss the divorce process and what your legal rights are. This is particularly important if there are children involved, or if the common assets include a marital home and other financial assets. Find out what and everything that you are entitled to: get informed up front. Look for a Family Lawyer or a lawyer/mediator who specializes in divorce.
A Financial Advisor: A divorce can significantly impact your financial situation, both currently and in the future. You will want a strategy to have a good, sound future if possible, with long term as well as short term goals. A financial Advisor can help with this strategy as well as provide insight on things such as planning or your future, budgeting, or the sale of the marital home. There are financial advisors who have received training in working with divorced and divorcing clients. These are Certified Financial Divorce Analysts (CFDA) and they may be have good information for you. Do NOT forget a financial advisor on your team. Any money you invest in speaking with one may prevent future problems.
Counselor/Therapist: Where are you in the divorce process? Do you need support while going through this? Ask your friends for the name of a good counselor whom they have found success with. Taking care of yourself is crucially important at this time, especially if you have children in the picture. Remember the flight attendant's words: Put the oxygen mask on yourself first.
If there are children , consider a counselor for them at this time, too. A wonderful local resource that provides support for families going through divorce is Kids First.
These are the Big Three. Don't overlook the importance of meeting with each of these as you begin your divorce process.
Look for Part Two: Other Important Members of Your Divorce Team