Is retirement possible, post-divorce?

How do I get through divorce, if I didn’t even ask for it?

This is common. The women I help don’t often file for divorce. Their husbands do. And while the writing was likely on the wall for a long time, they still feel utterly blind-sided when it comes.

Feel familiar? Divorce was never part of your life plan. And now you’re facing it. You don’t get to choose. It’s just … thrust on you.

No such thing as “trajectory”

Divorce is a grieving process. There are different stages, and I’m sure you’ve heard of them: Anger, denial, bargaining, depression, acceptance. You’d think that these were linear, as in one-after-another, or more “trajectory-like,” where there’s one “worst part” and everything gets easier afterward.

Cold-water alert: It doesn’t work that way. Not in real life. Not among the women who come to my office and burn through my tissue budget.

Because people aren’t linear. You sure aren’t. Ever make a little purchase, and then get a pang of buyer’s remorse a day later? Then it goes away. Then it comes back.

That’s a tiny thing. With divorce, it’s like that, times a zillion. It’s more than you can initially process, and so you go back and forth. Forward and backward. It just happens. I get it.

A costly process

So, when you least expect it and can barely manage to wrap your head around it, it hits you. There’s this grieving process: About the loss of the marriage. And the apparent loss of your self-worth. I’ve had women sob in my office: “How could I have done things differently?”

But the self-worth also segues to financial worth. Most women, understandably, view their marriage as a financial lifeline. Divorce severs it.

Now they’re scared of making bad decisions. Or ending up a burden to their kids.

It seems hopeless.

Only it isn’t.

A team and a tunnel

You need to surround yourself with people who are in your camp. First and foremost is your attorney: He or she is an expert on the legal aspects of the case: things like parenting time and other child-related issues. They also handle all of the negotiations and court filings on your behalf.  Then there’s me: I’m a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst®. (I’m also a CPA and a Certified Financial Planner™ professional; indeed, I’m the only one I know of, in Arizona, with this trifecta of accreditations.) Let me help you with the financial aspects of your future world. Let me help you with the planning.

Because while you may feel blind-sided, know that there’s a plan for every person. You just need to tease it out. And you do need to—because not making a decision is tantamount to making a bad one, i.e., letting others decide things for you, when your interest isn’t their overriding concern.

There are also others who can be in your camp, and on your team. There are wonderful divorce coaches, counselors, and peer support groups; many churches offer “Divorce Care” classes. There are good podcasts to help you learn about divorce; in fact, I was a guest on a great one from Nina Blaicher, called “See The Upside,” which you can find on Spotify or Apple podcasts.

Knowing that other women got through divorce, and seeing how they came out, is hugely important and empowering; it brightens the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m not just saying this academically. I was divorced, too. And I’m doing okay these days, thank you very much.

I want to help you get through this, too.