I remember clearly the feelings I had when my divorce was final. Yes, there were the feelings of doubt, uncertainty, and looming questions – after all, this was a man I had loved, raised a daughter with, and expected to spend my whole life with. But there were also those undeniable feelings of completion, turning a page into a new adventure, and empowerment.
Then, the undeniable “ohmygosh” moments hit. First the dryer broke, then the car battery died in my driveway, I had used up all my friends’ patience with long talks and shared tears, and what was it that I was supposed to do with the furnace this fall?
So I started to pull together my own post-divorce team. I began with the most critical, and filled the positions from there. My post-divorce team helped me navigate what otherwise would have been some rocky terrain. I surrounded myself with people I needed, who I knew or had been referred by people I trusted, and who I knew had my best interests at heart. So as you find yourself nearing the other side of your divorce process, consider arming yourself with your own team:
Do your friends’ eyes glaze over when you start to talk about your divorce, the woes of single parenthood, or worse yet – how lonely you are? It’s time to give them a break and let your friends be your friends. Enlist the help of a seasoned marriage and family therapist to help you figure out your path moving forward. A therapist is trained to be able to assess your situation more fully than your friends and give you trusted, sound (unbiased) advice on how to rebuild your life. Your friends helped a lot through your process, but now it’s time for a therapist to guide you to empowerment.
Perhaps you are thinking of using the tax preparer you and your spouse used previously, but then again, it’s time for a new perspective, and for a professional who has your best interests in mind. Don’t wait until the last minute. Meet with potential tax advisors in the fall. Align yourself with an advisor who understands your goals and will work with you on how to get there.
The advisor who managed your joint accounts will likely have a conflict of interest in working with you now, on your own. Find a Certified Financial Planner who will work with you on your new goals and needs, to create an investment plan for the money you receive in your settlement and to build your financial independence.
A friend, a sister, your cousin? Who does a lot of traveling and takes adventures the way you would want to? Meet with them, pick their brain, figure out how to play the travel game. The one thing about travel – it does not come to you!
Finding a mechanic that you can trust – someone that a good friend recommends and will give you peace of mind that you have “a guy for that” when your car gives you trouble. Let’s face it, we can’t all be good at everything, so supplement your skills with people who specialize in the things you don’t know how to do.
The gutter falls down in a storm, the fridge is making a strange noise, your favorite desk chair is wobbly – hire a handyman. These are often retired contractors who still love to dabble in “fix it” work. Ask your friends for referrals. If you go online and explore ads for handymen, check out their references to find the one who would be the perfect addition to your personal team.