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Gayle Rosenwald Smith

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Top 5 Things to Do

When you are in the throes of getting divorced, it’s hard to focus on the tasks at hand. In fact, it’s often hard to focus at all. Here are the top five things you need to do to make it through the first 30 days of getting divorced:

1. Create a support network.

Your support “network” may simply be one good friend who will be there for you and your family. This network should be there to listen, give advice, shower you with love and be in your corner. If you’re not comfortable sharing the intimate details of your divorce with family or friends, join a support group or find a therapist.

2. Hire a good attorney.

Regardless of how you have split with your spouse, you should secure an attorney. A “good” attorney is someone who shares your vision for an equitable outcome and advocates for you both in and out of the courtroom. In fact, a good attorney might keep you out of court altogether. Ask others who’ve been through divorce to recommend someone.

3. Be financially savvy.

This doesn’t mean you need to have the mind of an accountant or stockbroker. It does mean you need to take a look at your income and expenses now, and come up with a plan for the future. Talk with your lawyer about what you are entitled to financially from your spouse and what documents should be provided. If your spouse handled most of the family finances, you may want to get a financial advisor.

4. Make your children a priority.

If you have children, getting divorced will, no doubt, take a toll on them. Explain the situation in their terms, and listen to their concerns. Make it clear to your kids that both parents still love them and they are not the reason or the cause for the split. Support them as much as you can. Avoid bad-mouthing your spouse around the children. Do the best you can to avoid putting them in the middle.

5. Take care of yourself.

As you handle all the responsibilities and emotions that come up during a divorce, you’ve got to take time for yourself. If you need a good cry or scream, let it out. Get some physical activity in your day and you may find your frustrations exhausted on the treadmill. Whatever you do, find a way to secure your inner peace through this tumultuous time.

Posted: 9/19/07