Family Law Attorney Belleville, Illinois

How To Support Someone Going Through A Divorce

Different ways you can help a friend going through divorce

Belleville, Illinois divorce attorneys offer advice to friends and family members

It goes without saying that divorce can be a difficult time in someone’s life. That’s why many people can use as much support as possible. But what can friends and family do to help someone they love who’s going through a divorce? What support can they offer?

The New York Times recently offered some advice. The article included interviews with people who went through a divorce and the professionals who help them. Some of the advice might seem straightforward. But it helps to be reminded of how important small acts of kindness can be for someone going through this traumatic time in their life.

Be a good listener

Your first instinct might be to offer some helpful advice to a friend or loved one going through a divorce, but you need to resist that instinct. Instead, psychologists suggest being a good listener, without judgment.

“Be the type of listener that helps people reach their own conclusions,” Erika Anne Englund, a divorce mediator based in Sacramento, Calif., said in an interview with The New York Times. “Ensure your friend has a place to vent, cry, laugh and think out loud.”

Ashley Mead, a psychotherapist in New York, agreed. Instead of offering advice, simply listen. And don’t worry about trying to fix what’s wrong. “We have a tendency to want to fix bad things for our friends,” Mead wrote in an email to The New York Times. “But trying to cheer someone up is often about calming our own discomfort and doesn’t help those trying to relieve hard emotions.”

Offer a helping hand

If you really want to help someone going through divorce, don’t tell them what to do. Do something that actually helps them. Babysit their kids. Cook them dinner (or order takeout for them if you can't cook). Help them with household chores or shovel their driveway. Offer to drive them in a carpool. Help with repairs if you're handy.

“Divorce is a huge life transformation,” Mandy Walker, a divorce coach and mediator in Boulder, Colo., said in an interview with The New York Times. “Helping in small ways can have a lasting impact.”

Money does matter

Many people don’t want to talk about money, even during the best of times. But the reality is divorce can have a big financial impact on people. Many studies have shown that divorce can significantly reduce someone’s income, particularly women.

If you can afford to do so – and feel comfortable doing it – offer to loan or give a friend or family member money. But only if you feel completely comfortable doing so. Money can be a trigger for many people.

And while your financial support can be important, remember that you can’t do everything. This is especially true if your friend or family member isn’t getting the financial support they’re legally entitled to in the form of alimony or child support. That’s their divorce lawyer’s job.

Don't underestimate the value of legal help

Don’t underestimate the complexity and stress associated with divorce. If someone you know is considering a divorce, encourage them to get legal help. If you have decided to get divorced or you’re considering this option, make sure you fully understand your rights. The experienced divorce lawyers at Courtney Clark Law, P.C. in Belleville, Illinois can answer your questions and explain the legal options available to you – from no-fault divorce to mediation, divorce litigation, and the tax implications of divorce. Contact us and schedule an appointment today. We’re here to help you move forward with your life.

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