By Karen Dorsey, M.Ed., CDC®
When my world came crashing down and I realized that I was headed down a road I had never traveled, the first thing I did was retain a divorce attorney.
I was angry, I was afraid, and I felt alone.
What else was I supposed to do?
Looking back, I wish I had waited before I paid and retained a litigating attorney.
As a Certified Divorce Coach®, I may not recommend that your first best step is to hire an attorney.
Don’t get me wrong – I work with attorneys and refer my clients to attorneys, but I want my clients to be educated so they can make an informed decision when that time comes.
I believe the first step you should take when divorce is imminent is to determine what divorce process you want to consider. Your family and friends may be telling you to go and find a “shark” attorney and depending on your particular circumstances, you may need to do that. But more than likely, looking at all the divorce options truly makes more sense.
Understanding and educating my clients not only saves them money, but it can also create a scenario of doing this amicably and with a lot less conflict and stress.
It’s important to know the advantages and disadvantages of a DIY (Do It Yourself Divorce), mediation, collaborative law, or retaining a litigating attorney.
Once you know what divorce process to consider, then you can begin your search for attorneys who are aligned with what is important to you.
Unless you have an action plan, know what your goals and priorities are, and begin to see how destabilizing this traumatic event is, you are likely to make costly mistakes as I did and hear from so many other women who did not know their options.
Keep in mind that a divorce attorney is trained, skilled and interested in helping you navigate the legal system, but using him/her to help you with the emotional challenges will not only drain you, but will drain your bank account as well.
If you’re dealing with a high conflict partner, the attorney may not be able to help you with all of the intricacies of this long, exhausting, and stressful divorce process.
That is why I believe in the importance of having a team of professionals instead of putting all of your faith and trust in one person.
Consider having a divorce coach on your team along with other divorce professionals like my colleague, Julie Kerns, CDFA®. This will increase the likelihood of a good outcome and give you the confidence and security to know that you’re making good decisions for you and your family.
About the Author
Karen Dorsey, M.Ed. is a Certified Divorce Coach®️ and Family Mediator. Karen was a school counselor and therapist in private practice working primarily with children, teenagers, and families.
After her own unexpected divorce after a long-term marriage, she became passionate about helping women navigate through the divorce process. She knows that a divorce is a life-shattering event with so many painful emotions; and that dealing with the grief and loss of a relationship, the anger, hurt, fear, etc. makes it difficult to make good decisions about your life.
“I believe women need to have a “dream team” of people to support them through this emotionally overwhelming time so they can feel confident that they’re making the best decisions about their future lifestyle.”