This guest blog is from one of NFRC’s volunteer peer counselors; out of respect for her family’s privacy, we will call her Ilene.

Going through a divorce can be mind-numbingly complicated. If you’re the person asking for the divorce then you’ve probably done some research into the process. If you are the person who has been unwillingly thrust into this situation, you may feel frozen and unable to figure out how to cope.

A member of the latter group, I am a person told a divorce would occur. Within a few short days, I found that I had to play catch-up. My soon to be ex-husband had found himself an attorney; now it was my turn.

Where was I supposed to find an attorney to represent me and help fight for my future? I looked at hundreds of names online, trying to pick the right attorney for me.

My solution? First, I asked a friend if she knew any divorce attorneys. After we got past “the story” and how she always thought my “significant other” was arrogant, she gave me the name of a soccer friend, who is also a divorce attorney.

Second,  I went to the library and checked out books on divorce. I read those that explained the logistics of splitting up personal property and others on how other women coped with living through divorce.

What happened next is what typically happens when we most need it. The Universe stepped in and helped out one of its children, who was in trouble.

I met with the soccer friend divorce attorney, who listened for an hour and gave me some invaluable advice. She explained the various divorce routes: mediation; the standard divorce attorney setup; a do-it-yourself type, where the two parties split up doing all the paperwork; and, finally, collaborative divorce.

This kind attorney gave me brochures on collaborative divorce, suggesting I give that option some thought. She also gave me the name of a collaborative divorce attorney, who practices in my county. It is best to have an attorney familiar with the divorce requirements for both the state and county in which you live. You can find a collaborative professional in your area at https://www.collaborativepractice.com/.

My husband was willing to go down the collaborative divorce path, which turned out to be a great decision.  One of the best parts is the use of divorce coaches, which is where my connection to the National Family Resiliency Center began.

NFRC provided the support I needed during a very stressful time. The staff’s experience in negotiating a good result for all family members was exactly the help I needed for our entire family but most especially for my children. My divorce coach was able to help my soon to be ex-spouse focus on the needs of our children as a priority in all negotiations.

A parents’ divorce is devastating, even if the children are grown. NFRC included our children in every decision, coaching us on how to provide divorce information to them in a loving way. Each family member lived in a different state during the divorce so NFRC’s help with those conversations was invaluable.

When children still live at home, NFRC can help create parenting plans that work for the entire family. Learn more at www.familyconnex.org.

It is easy to underestimate the value that a professional can add during a time of great change. NFRC’s role was to smooth over the rough spots, causing each family member to feel valued.  Such support and guidance during this time was like a Hallmark card – priceless.

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