5 Ways Smart People Succeed during Divorce

You just found out you're getting divorced. Your mind is running 1,000 miles an hour. Will the kids be OK? Will I have enough money? Where am I going to live?

I understand. I've been there, too. As a divorce lawyer and divorced father of two, I know this time is full of uncertainty. That's why I wrote my bestselling book, I Just Want This Done: How Smart, Successful People Get Divorced Without Losing Their Kids, Money, and Minds.

Like HelloDivorce's team, I'm frustrated with the way most divorces are handled. I've witnessed divorce cases that took too long, cost too much, and resulted in the clients being needlessly upset. I've also seen the real advantages that alternative dispute resolution brought our clients. What should you do?

1. Don't panic

You'll make it. You can do this. Many other people have been divorced before you, and you'll be OK. If you freak out, you won't bring your best self to this task and won't be managing things well.

2. Self-assess

What are your goals for your family, the divorce, and yourself? These can be big or small goals. You'll undoubtedly alter this list over time, but get the basics down now. Do you want to move? Do you want equal parenting time? Need time to get back into the workforce? Consider your fears as well (oftentimes these are mirror images of the goals). "Won't have enough money to pay my bills."  "The kids won't want to spend time with me." And so on. Then ask: What is your ability to generate income? What kind of assets do you have? What are your fixed expenses?

3. Get help

Resources like our law firm, STG Divorce Law (if you're in the Chicagoland area) and Hello Divorce can be huge to give you guidance. My book is a great overall guide to divorce strategy – which was why I wrote it! More to the point, consult with a lawyer (perhaps more than one) to get oriented and find out what will be required to resolve your case. It's also a good idea to seek support from a mental health professional, divorce coach, and financial planner or wealth manager to help you with financial issues.

4. Do your homework

Collect financial information for your attorney, read what you can about divorce and the law in your area, find out what it costs to live where you want to live, and see your mental health professional or divorce coach to learn how to better communicate. Being an active participant saves you time, money, and grief.

5. Hang in there

Don't forget self-care. If you don't take care of yourself, you'll lock down and struggle to move ahead. You also won't be very helpful for your children.

These five tips will help you get started. More to come in future blogs, and much more information about I Just Want This Done at our website.

Family Law Attorney
Divorce Process, Legal Insights, Finances, Financial Health

Raiford Dalton Palmer, J.D., AAML is a long-time Illinois family law attorney and managing shareholder of Chicagoland-based STG Divorce Law where he focuses on complex divorce cases, especially those involving high net worth individuals. His work includes collaborative divorce, mediation, child custody, and post-divorce matters, as well as premarital and postmarital agreements. He has successfully won multiple jury and bench trials and managed numerous successful arbitrations and mediations. Raiford has also argued an appeal before the Illinois Appellate Court.

A multi-year winner of client service awards from as well as a multiple awardee of the SuperLawyer and LeadingLawyer designation for family law in Illinois, he is a frequent lecturer on Illinois divorce law and law firm management topics. Raiford is also a Fellow in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and the Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois.

His book, I Just Want This Done - How Smart, Successful People Get Divorced Without Losing Their Kids, Money, and Minds, is available for purchase on, and more information and products related to the book are available at the book website.