There are many good reasons to consult a divorce lawyer as you begin that long, difficult road to decouple from your spouse. A good divorce attorney can help you identify your assets, devise a settlement strategy, and even fight for you in court if things get contentious. This can help you walk away from your divorce with more assets and the custody arrangement that you want (or can at least tolerate).
What your divorce lawyer shouldn’t do is become your therapist. Divorce is an emotionally damaging and draining prospect. You are facing the loss of a partner, the breakup of your home, and a new, uncertain future. You probably want to talk about it, or even complain about everything your spouse says. And you likely crave someone telling you that you are going to be all right. That person should NOT be your divorce lawyer.
Not that she won’t be more than willing to listen to you pour your heart out. She doesn’t mind at all, because she’s charging you $300 an hour on up for the privilege. Do not fall into the divorce trap of thinking that your divorce attorney is also your therapist. Not only is she not trained for that, but she’ll also charge you up the wazoo for all that extra time replaying the last snippy email exchanges between you and your ex.
Guess who won’t charge you a dime for unburdening your soul? Your best friends and closest family members. Consider relying on them as you parse your feelings and confront your fears. Oftentimes, what we truly need in difficult times is to simply know that someone, anyone, is willing to listen to our side of the story. Your friends can fill that role.
Get a Real Therapist
If you are struggling with severe anxiety and depression, or feel as though your worries are affecting your quality of life, it might be time to consider seeing a therapist. This is a person who is trained to help you address and manage your emotions and to put your challenges in a new, empowering perspective.
Best of all, many health care plans cover mental health needs, so you may end up paying nothing out of pocket for your therapy. Even if you do have to fork over some cash, most therapists have a cheaper hourly rate than divorce lawyers.
So, make sure your divorce lawyer is representing your interests in all the legal aspects of your divorce, but when it comes time for the emotional stuff, rely on your friends or a professional therapist. You’ll be wealthier both financially and emotionally this way!
Our thanks to the Women’s Institute for Financial Education (WIFE.org) for providing this article. WIFE.org is the oldest non-profit organization dedicated to providing an unbiased, financial education to women in their quest for financial independence.