by Brie Reyes
Divorce has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My biological parents divorced when I was five years old. In my opinion, it was a messy, emotionally complex divorce with child custody issues. I remember the physical and emotional toll it took on my mom. She raised my sister and I as a single working mother for over 5 years before she met her soulmate. Looking back, a mother to a two-year-old, I can’t imagine the pain and anxiety she went through as an international flight attendant, going to work, leaving the country and leaving us for a few days with either her mother or a babysitter. She is truly my super-hero.
My second experience with divorce was in 2010. This time I was an adult child of divorce. My biological father and my much-loved stepmom were getting divorced. It was an eye-opening experience because most people believe that with age and maturity dealing with my parents’ divorce would be easier. In some ways it was; no court-ordered parenting schedule and a more amicable separation and settlement. But it also made it harder in others. I was worried that since my father had always been the breadwinner that my stepmom would be financially destitute.
Our holidays are not Norman Rockwell paintings and I always feel a tinge of guilt for not being able to see ALL my parents and my in-laws, but I love what I’ve learned about strength and the power to forgive from my parents. Both my moms and dads had an active role in my wedding and are a huge part of my son’s life. Nate knows that I have four parents and a new stepmom and that he is loved by all of them.
Being the child of divorce has given me empathy and a tremendous passion for what I do as a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst practitioner. I understand the emotional roller coaster that is divorce and have seen up close and personal too many people I care about make poor settlement choices just to get it finished. I feel emboldened to serve as an advocate to protect my clients from destroying their financial future.