1. Get professional help. Choose a lawyer to guide you through the divorce process and ensure you and your children are cared for now and in the future. Consider a therapist to help you and your children navigate the emotions and trials of the separation and divorce. Your lawyer may know a good family therapist so don't hesitate to ask for a referral. If cost is an issue, look for a university near you that offers a counseling program; they almost always have a clinic staffed by their students and the cost is significantly less than seeing someone in private practice.
2. Notify your boss. At some point in this process, you may take time off work, leave early, or come in late. Discuss scheduling needs in advance with your boss to prevent a negative backlash.
3. Tell your friends what you need. The best way to enlist your friend's support is to be specific about what you need. Explain, "I need you to let me talk, cry, and rage. I still want to come to family events like your 4th of July pool party. While I will need your advice going forward, right now I really just need you to listen."
4. Talk to your children's teachers and coaches. Teachers need to be aware of possible changes in your child's behavior. Keep them on the look out for signs of problems with your children. Children sometimes have a different relationship with their teachers and coaches than their parents and may be more willing to confide in them. Your school may have resources such as a divorce support group or a school counselor who can help your kids. Seeing you talk about the situation with others gives your children permission to talk. It lets them know that they do not need to be ashamed or embarrassed.
5. Tap into your community resources. Religious organizations sometimes offer divorce support groups. Meetup.com lists local groups for people going through a divorce. While these meetings are usually not run by professionals, they are usually free. Also, look into Parents Without Partners, an organization specifically for single parents.
6. Call a hotline if you're on the edge. Professional help is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week. There is no shame in calling one of these places when it's 2 a.m. and all you can do is sob, or your children have truly pushed you to the brink and you have nowhere to turn, or your anger has become so great that it feels out of control.
· National Domestic Violence Hotline - 800-799-7233
· National Child Abuse Hotline - 1-800-4-A-CHILD
· National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 1-800-273-TALK