Written by: Nanette Murphy, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
As a woman who was a stay home mom and raised three children, I supported my husband while he followed his dreams-built businesses, homes, and a restaurant. He put all his efforts into what he created. But sadly, he never felt that our marriage should take any great effort. He thought it was all supposed to "just work out." Everything else took time, energy, hours of hard work. We reached our twentieth anniversary then infidelity broke our marriage. It devasted me. I was terrified, angry, heartbroken; the list of emotions was endless.
It took time, dedication, and a significant amount of determination that I genuinely had to dig deep to find and hang on too tightly. I feared that I would never completely heal, which was unsettling. When you are part of a partnership for so many years, it truly takes your breath away at times when you know that this part of your life is coming to an end. It's easy to feel sorry for yourself and ignore daily tasks and now a long list of what you need to do to prepare for divorce. Allowed yourself time to clear your mind and let time take care of yourself in your day. Self-care is not just a simple one-time action. Being mindful of self-care is a daily action. Make this a priority. However, along with this comes the business part, the paperwork—the "meat" of divorcing. The list of duties will take work on your part, and there is no room to skip steps. Hire all the professionals you will need and those who have your best interest in mind.
You are now responsible for all details of your life. It can be overwhelming if you let it. Take each piece one step at a time.
Your Lawyer is the apparent initial hire; they must fight for you and your rights in the legal system. Don't hesitate to interview a few of them. Interview all the professional hires. They must work for you with your best interest in mind. Equally essential is an accountant. If you don't have one, I strongly recommend you find one. The next most important professional, equally as important as your divorce attorney, is a financial advisor—a financial advisor who is well versed in the divorce process. The financial advisor you want to look for is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst. Your financial advisor will guide you in setting up your financial future. They must answer your questions without causing you to feel inadequate if they do find another one! Interview all the people you hire. Please take my advice on this one. Take their advice and let them help you gain financial knowledge to have control of your financial future.
This new road you are on will have many ups and downs. You may often have days when you want to forget about it all. I suggest you allow yourself those moments or even days like this. But you cannot lose sight though of the task at hand. Working with the right people will make the task less daunting than it feels deep down. Also, getting details in order will make the journey ahead of you smoother.
You can't change the past, but this is your opportunity to build a foundation for your future. Consider all your options and write down your questions and concerns for each professional you hire. No question is a dumb question; if it comes to your mind and bothers you, you need to ask about it. Taking control of your finances and obtaining help to understand the details of your divorce will set the groundwork for you to build your future.
Financial fears keep many women in marriages long past when they should have ended it. But unfortunately, they are not wrong to have these fears.
According to The Women's Institute for Financial Freedom, studies find in the first year after a divorce, the woman's standard of living drops by nearly 27 % while her exes may increase by up to 10%. After five years, if they get a substantial amount of money in the settlement, studies show that they will be financially unstable. They will be broke.
Research shows that the overall divorce trend in the US has decreased for the past 20 years, but the divorce rate is higher among people aged 50 years and above. Therefore, go into your divorce prepared and aware. Arm yourself with knowledge, not anger. Being aware and informed will be very beneficial in the end.
Sometimes you will feel lost and lonely and probably a bit confused. Unfortunately, confusion and information overload are often part of the process.
Taking it all one step at a time and surrounding yourself with positive, helpful, and informed people will benefit you.
I have been where you are right now, and I understand your fears and concerns. I made it through and became the woman I always knew I could be but allowed, yes allowed, someone else to outline my future, only to derail it.
Ten years ago, I was not aware that divorce coaches were out there. But why would I? I never thought I would ever be divorced. Don't we all feel this way?
"Divorce is like a club. One that you never wanted to join, but here you are. Together we must help others through it."
I struggled for a long time, wondering, "why me?" Finally, I decided that I needed to make this experience have a purpose which led me to become and coach.
Don't go on this journey alone support and guidance are necessary and the sun will shine again.
Nanette Murphy, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Nanette Murphy is an author, divorce & Health Coach, and founder of the online community, www.divorceafterforty.com, for women divorcing after twenty-plus years. She is the mother of three adult children and divorced after nearly twenty-five years. Nanette did what she hoped to do but didn't expect; she found strength after heartbreak, her drive after healing, and discovered her purpose through growth. Her goal is to guide, support, and encourage other women to do the same through her community and her coaching.