As the New Year starts, it’s likely your “friend in need” has resolved to deal with the many issues, emotions and new logistics they need to manage during this period of transition. It’s easy to put off the critical task of updating (or in some cases, creating) emergency family documents. Although this goal may first seem overwhelming, it will be much easier if you complete it together…and you’ll both benefit from the outcome.
Encouraging your friend to update their documents is important because often a spouse is the named emergency contact (or the default contact in most states). A current point-person needs to be named for decisions relating to minor children, health and finances. Finishing this task will empower your friend by avoiding unnecessary conflicts during an emergency situation.
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If your friend has been struggling with a decision to start a divorce, a large concern can be what do to about the debt from the marriage and the other spouse accumulating debt during these last months before filing. Your friend can be concerned that the spouse may be spending more than usual because they know that a divorce is inevitable.
Regardless of what debts your friend may be facing, help them try to get organized and gather information about their current financial situation. The biggest advice is not to panic. Many people think their spouse may be hoarding or taking money, when that is typically far from the case. Remind them to get the facts first before jumping to conclusions. Continue reading →
When your friend wants to vent after an exasperating divorce-related experience, it’s not only understandable, but necessary. A traditional African proverb says, “When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.” When you provide a safe, objective space to vent, you help your friend protect his or her “grass” – whether that’s the children, mutual friends, extended family, or his or her own emotional and physical well-being.
Because it’s likely your friend will not be at his or her best when venting, here are some ideas to help you be a more skillful, compassionate listener. Continue reading →