Divorce is a really challenging process. One of the best things you can do to maximize the value of your relationship with your lawyer is to know your relationship’s limitations.
Getting emotional support from a therapist, divorce coach, divorce or women’s support group, or other source of support is really crucial.
Who wouldn’t want a one-stop shop for divorce? It’s hard to go out and find other professionals to work with. But the truth is that a divorce encompasses more than just legal issues, and there are two non-legal areas of special importance during a divorce: the psychological and the financial.
While your attorney should understand the ins and outs of your financial picture, she is not a specialist in helping you determine what you need to live on, how best to live within your means or how to protect and grow your wealth for the future. For that, speaking with a financial professional, like a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, a Certified Financial Planner or other designation will serve you better than speaking with your attorney.
Similarly, many of the decisions and transactions that take place in a divorce have tax implications. For those, you must speak with an accountant to be properly served and advised. Divorce attorneys should know enough to recognize when something raises a red flag in the tax realm, but they do not know the ins and out of smart tax planning, and they should not be the last word on how best to handle a tax-related question.
Getting emotional support from a therapist, divorce coach, divorce or women’s support group, or other source of support is really crucial. Many people going through the divorce process already have that in place. If you don’t, ask your lawyer (or a friend or other trusted resource) for recommendations. There are many ways that having emotional support outside your lawyer’s office will help you in your relationship with your lawyer, not to mention in other important areas of your life. It’ll help you see the boundaries of your lawyer’s role as only part of the solution to working through your divorce. It’ll help you make it through the toughest phases of your divorce, and keep taking active steps toward resolution. It’ll help you to trust your own instincts, and to lean on others for appropriate support but not to be unduly swayed by a well-meaning Greek chorus. It’ll help you distinguish between when compromising feels comfortable and healthy, and when it feels too much like giving in.
As in any other relationship, expect your lawyer to have aspects you like and aspects you’re less crazy about. Being clear on your priorities and hiring to meet them, actively participating in your case, and getting yourself support in the different areas necessary for you will ensure that you maximize the value in your relationship with your attorney and in your experience in the divorce process.