But when new clients walk into her office, she asks one pointed question before anything else: “Are you sure you want to get divorced?”
Despite the fact that they showed up to her office willingly, the answer’s not always a ‘yes,’ which is exactly why Newman opens with the inquiry.
“I suggest trying everything you can before you come into my office, because you never want to look back. It’s very hard to get back,” she told Business Insider. “Divorce is financially expensive, emotionally expensive, and you just have to make sure that this is exactly the choice that you want to make.”
Starting in January of each new year, Newman sees an uptick in divorce filings, which continues to rise throughout February and March. Though this wave of interest is often referred to as ‘divorce month,’ Newman prefers to see it as ‘keeping your options open month.’ She wants her clients to take the time to fully realise the implications of a divorce before making any official moves.
“They want to be able to be in a position to make an educated decision,” Newman says. “They come in and they say, ‘What would happen with my kids? What would it look like financially?’ It’s the information-gathering stage.”
Not to mention, getting divorced is a significant financial investment. Though the numbers look different for every couple, divorce typically costs between $US15,000 and $US20,000 — not too far away from the $US32,000 price tag of the average wedding.
That’s not to say every couple should stay married just to avoid the hassle of a divorce — Newman also strongly encourages therapy and marriage counseling.
If it’s the right decision, she’s more than happy to help clients take their next steps, but it’s worth investing time in conclusively deciding that it’s truly the best option for you and your family.