Article by: Vindy Teja
Family lawyers and mediators routinely deal with legal matters that take place in emotionally charged and/or financially complex situations. They are highly skilled professionals. But it would be unreasonable to expect your legal professional to know and take care of every possible issue that comes up in your divorce. Besides, your divorce is not occurring in a vacuum. You’re likely dealing with multiple areas of change in your life as well as your kids’. These may not qualify as legal matters, but how you handle them often impacts your legal and financial interests, both short term and long term. Things like your emotional and physical well-being, financial management skills, access to parenting resources, job flexibility challenges, and so on.
To save money and time over the long run, as well as to put you in the driver’s seat to make the best possible decision for your future, create your “Divorce Board of Directors.” This is a cheesy phrase I coined during my divorce, to refer to a select group of people I could rely on, to give me honest, reliable, and credible information, advice and support. To this day, I’m grateful to my Board. As a Divorce Coach, I’m now fortunate enough to serve on my clients’ Divorce Boards.
Your Board may include paid divorce professionals, such as a family lawyer or mediator, counsellor, divorce coach, financial planner, and accountant. Some of these professionals provide initial consultations to determine mutual fit, so having a list of prepared questions helps maximize both parties’ time. Often these professionals network with each other, so don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations when you need them.
Referrals also come from your trusted health and well-being professionals. My referral network includes different types of doctors, physiotherapists, massage therapists, counsellors, acupuncturists, social workers and personal trainers.
These professionals help you manage the stress and negative emotion of divorce, which often manifests in your body. Paying attention to what’s happening to your body, and keeping your service providers in the loop allows them to assist you more effectively.
Finally, your Board includes professionals and others who are already in your accumulated personal network of trusted family members, friends and colleagues.
By now, it probably sounds like you’re going to have the biggest and most unwieldy Board of Directors ever. Not good. If it’s too big, you end up getting so many conflicting opinions that it adds to your stress and overwhelm. Too small, and you unnecessarily burden people who are supporting you, or you make important decisions with too little information. These can be costly in the long run.
One suggestion my clients have found practical, is to keep a notebook and calendar – manual or electronic – in which you record things that come up, including questions, deadlines, and steps you need to be take. Rather than swimming around in your brain, these items become concrete and actionable. This reduces your stress, and keeps you moving forward.
Remember to save space in your notebook to record who (or where) you might get some of the answers from. This keeps the Board’s growth deliberate and tied to your divorce needs.
Directors don’t just have to be people. Don’t let a small network thwart your ability to get the information and services you need. There are so many valuable print and online resources related to divorce.
There are many great professionals and resources to help you during your divorce, including a qualified divorce coach. Forming a Board of Directors can help reduce divorce overwhelm, as well as increase your resilience and decision making ability.
Vindy Teja, CDC®
Vindy Teja, LL.B. is a TEDx Speaker (“With This Prenup I Thee Wed: The Truth About Prenups” ), Professional Life & Divorce Coach, and Author of YOLO: Essential Life Hacks for Happiness and Co-Author of Passed Down From Mom: A Collection of Inspiring Stories About Moms & Motherhood.
CDC Certified Divorce Coach ® Directory Listing – https://certifieddivorcecoach.com/user/vindy-teja/