Divorce proceedings are difficult and unpleasant on a number of levels. As if the emotional turmoil created wasn’t difficult enough, you must also deal with complex legal and financial issues which will have a tremendous impact on your future. Unfortunately, the level of emotion involved causes many people, both men and women, to make poor decisions which they end up greatly regretting down the road.
In order to give yourself the best possible chance for a positive outcome, it’s essential that you recognize your vulnerability. Understand that you are not at your best right now, and that you are more prone to making emotional decisions than you normally would be. In addition, it’s important to understand that the financial and legal complications which are in play are hard for a non-specialist to understand even on their best day.
In short: you need help during this process. And if you don’t seek assistance, or if you choose poorly, you will regret it for years to come.
Below are three essential elements of this team, with a word about how to make the right selection:
A family law or matrimonial attorney. Obviously, you need a good lawyer. But you need that lawyer to be a specialist. Look for an attorney with extensive experience handling divorce, and a track record of success. Don’t settle for the first attorney you meet, either—I recommend interviewing a minimum of three candidates. Ask questions about their experience, their fee structure, and the circumstances of your case. And now matter how qualified an attorney is, if you don’t feel comfortable conversing with him or her, keep looking!
A forensic accountant. You can’t utilize just any accountant, like you can’t utilize just any lawyer. Look for a forensic accountant with extensive experience in divorce proceedings—and a long list of successes. This accountant plays a critical role in ensuring that all assets are fairly identified and distributed.
A therapist. Divorce is emotionally damaging, and you can’t afford to confront this challenge on your own. Look for an experienced therapist who has successfully coached others through this process.
Don’t try to “be a hero” and navigate the turbulent waters of divorce without the proper assistance. Take the time and assemble a winning team—you’ll be glad that you did!