1. Marital Counseling
If you have gone through the 3 Basic Questions that MUST be Answered Before Making a Decision to Divorce and you remain unsure of your decision as to whether you should get a divorce, you really need to take the advice to seek counseling (if you haven’t) as previously suggested.
And even if you have decided to move forward with the divorce, marital counseling will still help you resolve the divorce in the most positive way possible. Perhaps the real problem is one of communication. If so, counseling can improve the way couples communicate with each other.
> > Everyone communicates differently and the dynamics of communication can vary by personality, gender, the way someone was raised as well as many other factors.
Or maybe other issues need to be explored, such as trust issues or anger issues or even financial issues. Therapy can be expensive, but many communities offer low-cost therapy and some churches have specific outreach programs for couples and individuals.
In addition, health insurance will often help pay the costs of counseling. Reading books and articles can be a great way to learn coping techniques and to get an idea of what to expect in terms of the emotional responses to the divorce process.
If the decision to divorce has been made, sometimes marital counseling can turn into family counseling in order to help the children adjust to the changes that will be coming with the divorce.
This counseling could include the entire family or may, for some sessions, only involve the children. Parents have to remember that they are not the only ones who are going to be suffering from the loss of the relationship. And in many cases, the children may be under the impression that they somehow caused the divorce.
This idea may be entirely unfounded, but children do not think like adults. They do not necessarily understand all of the factors that are involved in the decision to divorce and it is not your job to explain those factors.
Your job is to help them adjust and to make sure they know that everything will be fine and that they are very loved. In addition to books for the parents, the list of books and resources includes books for different aged children.
2. Individual Counseling
In addition to marital counseling, you should consider seeking counseling on a one-to-one basis. Just like a marital therapist, be sure to pick someone with whom you can relate.
Someone you feel comfortable sharing your most intimate worries and concerns. And someone who helps you make good and well-reasoned decisions, but who lets you come to your own conclusions. That is the mark of a good therapist.
> > If for some reason you are just not connecting with a particular counselor, find another.
Not only are you dealing with different personalities, counselors also use different methods to bring about the best results.
Not every method will work for you, so expect that you may have to change course and find another therapist.
Don’t give up – this is too important no matter what decision you make make as to getting a divorce.
3. Financial Counseling
No one really talks about financial counseling. This is something that is not taught at school and, in many cases, it is not taught at home.
Being able to take care of our finances often means setting a budget and deferring purchases until they can be afforded. In America, we want something now and we have been told that we deserve it now and that we can get it now.
I recently had a young man come to my office to talk about a car loan he had taken out. He had just started his first job and, even though he had a car that ran, he wanted to have something newer. So, because he had no established credit, he financed the car at a the incredibly high interest rate of over 20%!
When I went over the math with him, he realized that he may end up paying more in interest than he did for the entire car.
> > My point is that we often only learn how to handle our finances by experience.
Learning these experiences alone is hard enough, but when a person is learning along with the spouse and maybe with children to feed, the lesson can overwhelm and consume any married couple. And when spenders are confronted by savers, it is not pretty.
In the end, financial counseling can help to resolve the fairly simple math problems through a plan of attack.
For example, Dave Ramsey advocates for a debt snowball where you pay off the smallest debts first and then work toward the bigger debts.
There are also many other methods, but we often don’t search for ways to help our financial problems until we are way too deep into the problem.
When a couple can learn to communicate and the other person actually listens – not just to respond, but to understand, then a couple can learn to attack the debt together.
And even if a person has already decided to get divorced, finding a financial counseling, whether in person, online or through the old fashioned book, is critical to success.
How much will you have after taxes? What are your expenses? How will your expenses change while separated and after the divorce? Daycare? Health insurance? Child support? Have you received a copy of your credit report?
You get the picture…you must do the math and do the homework (click here to learn how to make a financial plan).
4. Legal Counseling
The fourth type of counseling that should be considered is counseling by a lawyer.
Not your friend, Google or a notary or anyone else – you need to speak with a lawyer. This advice should seem obvious, but most people only consult with an attorney once the decision to divorce has already been made.
But, if you are trying to make a good decision as to whether or not you should get divorced, you should be educated and informed about the divorce process. A divorce attorney is going to have a lot of knowledge to offer you and has probably dealt with many people who stood in your exact same shoes.
You may be able to avoid some basic mistakes just by seeking legal advice prior to taking any action. An attorney should be able to direct you to a counselor or help you get financial advice. An attorney should be able to warn you of common traps that most people just don’t think about, such as tax consequences.
> > Further, an attorney familiar with the Judges in your area will have a good idea of what may be acceptable to a particular Judge. If so, you will have a good idea of what is to come and you can prepare appropriately.
These are just some of the basic ways an attorney can counsel you before you even make a decision to divorce.
Of course, once you have made the decision to divorce, there will be even more guidance needed from your attorney as your divorce progresses.
It is time consuming and the uncertainty can be stressful, so it is better to have someone who can guide you through the process with the confidence you deserve.
Besides encouraging you to seek out the answer to the question of whether or not you really want to get a divorce, a good attorney should encourage you to seek all four types of counseling previously mentioned when appropriate.
In addition, a good divorce attorney should suggest the following course of action: