Surrounding Yourself with Support During a Divorce – San Diego Divorce Mediation
When you go through a divorce you may find yourself losing friends. It’s sad but normal. Some of your married friends won’t know what to do with a single friend or they may feel vulnerable about their own marriage. It doesn’t matter the reason, just know it likely has nothing to do with you and is their own issue. Some friends may decide to “pick a side” and that is something you will have to accept as well. You will also make new friends, usually other divorcees and single parents who know what you are going through and can commiserate or give real-life advice. Whichever friends you have when the dust settles is what matters, hang on to those friends.
What friends and well-meaning family can typically not give you (unless they are family law attorneys) is legal advice and mental-emotional growth. For that, couples getting a divorce in mediation are recommended to each hire their own consulting attorney, divorce coach, and therapist. But what if you cannot afford all three? How will you survive what is going to be one of the most important times of your life without professional support?
A consulting attorney is necessary when you’re engaged in mediation services but there is still some contention and you need legal advice. A consulting attorney is your advocate, will help you to strategize, and offer you insight into the agreements being offered. A consulting attorney is a cost efficient way to help you make informed decisions about your divorce using mediation. A consulting attorney is not your attorney on record, they do not act on your behalf or represent you. Not all divorce mediation cases require the assistance of a consulting attorney.
A divorce coach is a newer role that is a certified professional. Divorce coaches can help you from the moment you begin considering to divorce to long after your divorce is final. A divorce coach will support you emotionally, will guide you through the legal process (though are not legal professionals), and can help you be organized throughout the divorce. A divorce coach is your sounding board, will help you get your thoughts in order for decision making and communication, and ultimately their job is to empower you. A certified divorce coach is not a lawyer or a therapist but can support you in both areas. A divorce coach will likely recommend trying mediation services for your divorce as a first step.
Whether it’s a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist, a psychologist, or even a psychiatrist, a therapist is there to help you navigate the mental-emotional journey of going through a divorce. When a marriage ends you must deal with the emotional fallout. Many therapists will discourage the use of the term “failed marriage” but dismissing the phrase does not mean it’s not true. There’s a lot to work through when you’re ending a marriage and understanding your role and how to forgive yourself and learn from your mistakes is of utmost importance to moving forward.
Having to choose just one is not ideal but affording all three while going through a divorce is often not realistic either. By hiring a divorce mediator to facilitate your divorce you are already on the right track to expedite your divorce in a financially efficient manner. Next the question becomes which supporting role do you hire next if you can only hire one? There are a lot of elements to take into account:
Is the divorce contentious?
Do you trust your former spouse?
Do you have any suspicions about financials?
Do you have a large amount of personal property?
Do you have children and custody or child support concerns?
Are there any major legal arguments that you don’t think a mediator can help you with?
Are you overwhelmed?
Can you see the light at the end of the tunnel?
Are you depressed?
Are you able to function?
Answering these questions will help you figure out which professional you should prioritize hiring while going through your divorce. If it’s big legal stuff then go with a consulting attorney until the dust settles and then hire yourself a therapist to deal with the emotional and psychological implications afterwards. If it’s a matter of not knowing what to do next or how to balance it all, hire a divorce coach to take you from start to finish of the legal process. A good divorce coach will advise you if they cannot help you emotionally and will defer you to a mental health professional. If you are too depressed to function, then go straight to a therapist. And of course, if you are struggling to the point that you may be at-risk for self-harm then please call your doctor or 9-1-1 immediately.
Scott Levin is known as The Chief Peacekeeper for his role as a divorce mediator. Mr. Levin is a licensed attorney by the State Bar of California and a member of the Academy of Professional Family Mediators, San Diego Bar Association Family Law Group and a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst. If you are a resident in the state of California and are filing for divorce, call (858) 255-1321 to set up a free 15 minute consultation or visit https://sandiegofamilylawyer.net/ to learn more.