In addition to the emotional roller coaster following the discovery that your spouse has chosen to be with someone else, comes the fear of how to protect yourself and your family from the financial and emotional devastation that often follows.
First, check your bank and investment accounts, credit cards, phone records, and email accounts to make sure that nothing is out of the ordinary. Then call an attorney. Sit down with the attorney to discuss what can be done to ensure that you are financially and legally secure while navigating the event’s emotional devastation. Obtain enough information to understand the entire divorce process. This knowledge will allow you to feel more confident as you make decisions. If you do not feel confident after meeting with the divorce attorney, meet with another attorney. The right fit is essential.
Often there is no need to make decisions immediately. Other times there is a benefit to moving quickly. It is best to know as much about the situation as possible before you have to make decisions. It is also important to have an understanding of the divorce process and a checklist that allows you to make sure everything remains status quo while you explore your next steps. In addition to calling a divorce lawyer, it is a good idea to obtain a counselor or therapist to help you traverse the emotional aspects of this discovery. Relying on family, friends, coworkers, or even worse your spouse or attorney to help you navigate the emotional turmoil is ineffective and often detrimental. If you do not feel relief and confidence after you meet with the first therapist, meet with another. Quality professional relationships are essential.
A majority of divorces are sparked by a sudden awareness that one party or the other has found someone else. That is almost never the root problem. Few people choose to cheat on their spouse when they are happily married. The underlying (often long-term) acrimony makes the divorce process very difficult, so obtaining good counsel and a therapist will help. Charting a path of least resistance with little drama and bitterness is ideal. If you are able to envision what your life will look like six months or a year out, it makes the journey less painful and scary.
An affair does not have to end in divorce. Realistically, however, divorce is one of the possibilities. Therefore, it is important to get enough information to know your rights and potential outcomes. At Strategic Divorce, we are available to help you understand the divorce process and provide you with knowledge so that the options are understandable and clear.
Michone J. Riewer is an attorney with Strategic Divorce in Lake Bluff, 847-234-4445, strategicdivorce.com.