There’s No Such Thing As “One-Size-Fits-All” Divorce
Anne-Louise DePalo and the Danger of the “One-Size-Fits-All” Divorce
Divorce is usually a costly affair. Separate from the emotional cost to you and your family, it can be a serious financial hurdle that leaves people in debt or scrambling to make ends meet. In fact, the average price of divorce in America is $20,000 and up to $10,000 more with children.
It’s a serious investment.
This week I sat down with Anne-Louise DePalo and discussed how the divorce process can be draining, both emotionally and financially. DePalo is an attorney in Staten Island who’s been practicing in the area of divorce and family law for over 30 years, and she’s the author of the book, Divorce Now What? How to Survive, Thrive and Become Fully Alive Through the Divorce Process. She wrote the book to show people that they have options in divorce. It isn’t just litigation and conflict.
Everybody Doing their Job
The key to DePalo’s approach is to use experts for what they’re expert at and use them efficiently. That eliminates extra bills. If the lawyers are being used as mediators going back and forth between the two parties getting divorced, then they’re billing a lot of hours. And the financial strain and stress isn’t good for anyone. Getting everyone together in one room helps streamline the communication process, limiting the time billed for phone calls and backs-and-firths.
Leaning on Experts
DePalo advises looking to experts—in child development, mediation, finances, business—to help you decide what strategy is best for you. There’s no reason you should feel that you’re an expert in these highly specialized fields. And you shouldn’t feel that lawyers are, either. In collaborative, with experts from a variety of fields, you can get the answers you need more directly and, again, probably with fewer billed hours.
The first off-the-bat benefit of collaborative, according to DePalo, is that you’re splitting the costs with your soon-to-be-ex. But more importantly, you’re going directly to the experts in each field affected by the divorce. Tapping into the wisdom of a team rather than outsourcing that work to a lawyer can be much more cost-effective, more emotionally effective and ultimately more rewarding.
A Holistic Approach
What DePalo focuses on in her work and in her writing is a holistic approach to the dissolution of a marriage. During this process, DiPalo says, it’s important to emphasize a holistic approach, taking into account the mind, body and soul as you go through this major life transition.
DePalo emphasizes that, while we may talk about divorce like it’s an end, it’s important to remember that it’s a process. It’s really a transformation. She suggests spending time alone, starting a new hobby, journaling or finding other ways to express yourself. Lean on your friends, your faith base, for strength and guidance. Mostly, she emphasizes, you need time to think and to get comfortable in your “new normal” whether that involves co-parenting or dating or spending more time alone.
Read our guide: “10 Mistakes People Make When Going Through Divorce” today!