Most people think of the breakup of a relationship as causing purely mental or emotional issues. That is certainly true. Most of my clients, at one time or another, feel hurt, scared, confused, sad, and overwhelmed. But there are also often physical consequences. Divorce is undeniably a devastating event in the lives of the spouses and their children. A variety of research shows that both men and women suffer serious physical effects at divorce, including depression, weight gain/loss, difficulty concentrating, increase in tension, lack of sleep, nausea, heart problems, and other serious ailments. In my experience, these issues are strongest at the beginning of the divorce, as well as during particularly stressful events in the process (court hearings, custody studies, etc.). While some of these issues are episodic, and will hopefully fade, research indicates that some may have long-term detrimental effects on health.
Divorce will always be stressful, due to the loss of a loved partner (and perhaps part time loss of children), financial insecurity, and general uncertainty. Therefore, when possible, it makes sense to manage stress and uncertainty by enlisting the aid of experienced professionals. As a divorce attorney, I deem it very important to help ease the burden of my client’s and their children by navigating the legal issues, working with your spouse or his/her lawyer directly, and generally insulating you from daily focus on the divorce. But other Madison-area professionals also provide valuable services. Financial planners will meet with you and your attorney to discuss your financial future, based on realistic expectations of your post-divorce income, expenses, debts and assets. They can help you answer “How will I manage financially without my spouse?” Licensed therapists and counselors assist by providing a trained sounding board to make sense of the breakup and how it affects you. They will also help identify emotional issues that may need to be addressed to improve your mental and physical health. Life coaches are available to help identify issues, set goals, and take an integrated approach to making order of the next phase of your life. There are several divorce-related support groups that also offer solace, or just a place to vent.
Divorce is difficult enough, and there is no need to go through the process alone. A divorce attorney, working with the above professionals, can ease the daily burden. Working with these professionals does not mean that you give up control of the process or your life. Instead, they can simply assist you clear the fog and clutter, and emerge from the divorce as a whole person, prepared for the next phase of your life.