If you’re getting divorced, or thinking about doing so, you’ll need to put together a group of people who will support you through the process who are not lawyers. I call this your “divorce team.” Your team will hold you accountable to your values, and they will hold you to the vision you have for your life after your divorce. Because they know you and what you want, your team will help you make good decisions. If you’re the quarterback trying to make the touchdown throw, they’re the ones defending you while you succeed.
The purpose of your team is not to share privileged legal strategy, and you don’t want to share that strategy with them. That’s what you and your lawyer discuss, and it’s confidential. What you will share with them is your need for emotional and practical support during the life transition that is divorce.
It’s probably best not to include people on your team who will, out of emotional self-safety, take sides in your divorce. That’s not what you want or need. You need a team that will support you. The purpose of your team is to hold your vision for yourself when you (from time to time) get too stressed by the divorce process to remember your goals. A team member might be your best friend, a member of your religious or spiritual community, a therapist or counselor, and maybe a co-worker who understands the other areas of your life like your work and career ambitions. Take a few minutes and think about who those people might be.
Once you’ve decided, take a look; do you notice any patterns of similarity among them? Do you absolutely trust each of these people to help you and not talk about your personal divorce issues with other friends, your community, or your ex-spouse? If you have any reservations about trusting someone completely, take them off your list and put down another name. You’ll find as you go through the divorce process that you will make new friends and add people to your team as you go.
Now, tease out what you think makes you trust them so much and jot down those trust points.Then, when you go to interview a lawyer or mediator for your divorce, you’ll know what you’re looking for and you can find a lawyer who shares your values.