For as much as I preach about healthy and happy divorces, it occurred to me that I’ve never suggested a list of resources* to reach that goal. So, here it is…
The Lawyer– Everyone knows this one. Lawyers are those all-powerful people in suits who bring about Justice, right? Well, at least we feel that way when we hire them. Lawyers know the law and quite often they know each other. They can work together to finalize agreements and make things Official.
The Therapist– Because the lawyer doesn’t care about your nightmares, anxiety and feelings of failure. The therapist’s office is also an appropriate place to work through your anger (Many people use a lawyer to work through their anger. This practice is often costly and destructive).
The Mediator– Mediators work with both partners to each agreements. A mediator is a neutral third party and can aid a divorcing couple in establishing some middle ground on which to work together.
The Coach– A coach can help and individual or evolving family establish goals and an action plan appropriate to their situation. This is a directional process (not legal nor therapeutic) and the coach should not to be confused with the other experts listed above.
The Divorce Financial Planner– You want to make the most of your divided assets, right? Make sure you turn to a professional who is specifically qualified to deal with your unique situation.
Community– I’m not just talking about your dancing buddies and church groups. Don’t forget to check out the wealth of available forums, blogs and message boards online. It’s easy to feel lonely during the divorce process and the internet opens the door to others in a similar place. Take the time to lean, learn and network.
Communication Channels– Use appropriately: the telephone, text messages, email, snail mail, a traveling notebook/folder (regarding the kids), social media and face-to-face contact. Notice I didn’t list “children” as carriers of information.
Local Assistance– Check your area for local programs that offer appropriate help. This may include shelters, workshops or financial assistance.
Books– There are a bunch. Some of my personal favorites are The Good Divorce (cerebral divorce study stuff, by Constance Ahrons, PhD), Ask Me About My Divorce (happy-ending essays collected by Candace Walsh), Happily Ever After Divorce (the little stories that make up one big story, by Jessica Bram), Divorce Poison (the book that introduced me to PAS, by Richard Warshak, PhD) and Ex Etiquette For Parents (helpful hints to a better co-existence, by Jann Blackstone-Ford and Sheryl Jupe).
So… did I miss anything? What resource(s) have you found most beneficial? Favorite books? Movies to help you through (should I have added a “movies” segment?)?
*Disclosure: I don’t claim to have all the answers and this list alone will not meet the needs of everyone. It is intended only as a guideline to begin searching for appropriate professional assistance.