What do working women need when they are planning to get divorced?  Often it is not easy for working women to feel strong heading into a divorce.  Sure, during the workday it is relatively easy to make decisions, call the hard shots and feel confident and in control of everything.  That good feeling of control can even appear on the surface of the divorce proceeding.  Still, every professional woman, moving toward a divorce, can benefit from having essential resources at the ready.  In addition to selecting the right attorney for the divorce there are resources each woman should secure prior to moving forward.

  1. Building a strong support network is essential. Many women are surprised by the emotional complexity of a divorce proceeding.  Every woman benefits from having a mental health professional by their side the whole way through the process.  Even if both partners have tried counseling and still arrived at the determination that divorce is best, it is important to have a social worker or psychotherapist ready to support a woman when she needs it.  And, based on my experience, a woman will need the support when she least expects it.  Other forms of emotional support can come from helpful family members, clergy and even thoughtful friends.  The support network is essential.   This aspect of a working woman’s emotional life should be well cared for so that the divorce unfolds smoothly and with as little damaging impact as possible.
  2. Knowing the divorce-strategy options is very important. There are three primary ways in which people dissolve their marriages.  The first is the one people are most familiar with, the litigated  This approach involves the court and is usually selected when one partner is not ready to face the reality of divorce or when there are other issues like financial infidelity, mental health issues, drugs, alcohol, or gambling addiction, or when domestic abuse is present in the marriage.  When a couple can agree to divorce amicably, mediation or the collaborative divorce process are ideal.  Mediation or collaborative process allow a couple to move through the divorce process at their own pace and to make decisions about the division of their resources privately and confidentially.  A trained mediator can be hired to guide through mediation. During mediation a couple works with a neutral mediator who helps them discuss their settlement options, but he or she must remain neutral and cannot represent either of the spouses.  A collaborative divorce is one in which each couple creates a professional team which depending on the family’s needs may consist of attorneys, mental health professionals, child specialists and financial neutrals to work through the particular details of the divorce focusing on the couples’ goals, concerns and fears.  Minor children come first in the collaborative divorces and this is a great comfort to many clients who choose this path. Though television and movies have made divorce appear vicious in court-room scenes, it need not be, if mediation or collaborative approaches are selected.
  3. Working women considering divorce must be prepared to have access to all financial aspects of jointly held property. Sometimes women, even working women, do not have access to or knowledge of all the financial aspects of their married life.  Prior to beginning a divorce, I counsel each woman to have a clear sense of the financial landscape, assets and debts to be divided, as well as her financial goals for the future.
  4. If a couple has minor children, they must be the primary focus as the divorce proceedings begin. Professional women must have a clear awareness of what childcare needs they might have, what special services a child might need and perhaps even a notion of what sort of annualized calendar might be best for the children in the family. Giving thought to the entire year as a life-cycle experience helps working women think about how they will negotiate their family time with their soon-to-be-former spouse.  Often those who choose mediation or collaborative process can test out and adjust different parenting schedules before their divorce case is finalized.

Working women may initially find divorce to be challenging as suddenly everything has to be negotiated with the spouse and sometimes this feels like a loss of control.  It is always my hope to guide clients through divorce proceedings tailored to their needs and circumstances with as little damage as possible especially when children are involved.  In each initial consultation I explore with a client mediation, collaborative process and the litigation approach so that the client can make an informed choice.

I am always grateful for the camaraderie of Women Belong and am happy to serve as a resource for any woman reading this who might be considering divorce.  The decision is never easy but once made, it is important to move as smoothly as possible through the experience.  Successful resolution of marital conflict allows each woman to move forward and find fulfillment again.


Anna Krolikowska is an attorney in private practice in the metro-Chicago and North Suburban Chicago areas.  She is a collaboratively trained attorney and a Fellow of Collaborative Divorce Illinois.  Within her law practice Anna works with clients using mediation, collaborative divorce process, or the litigated approach.  To learn more about which strategy might be best for you contact Anna at anna@annaklaw.com, or (847) 715-9328 to schedule a consultation.  Follow Anna on Facebook.com/AttyKrolikowska, on Instagram:  @annaklawchicago, on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/company/annaklaw,  or on Twitter @AnnaK_Law. Anna is the President of the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) and only the 5th woman to have been elected President of the ISBA since it’s inception in 1877. She has been recognized and honored for her work as an attorney by her fellow attorneys and the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, which named her one of “Top 50 Women Lawyers in Illinois” in 2021, one of the “40 Under Forty” in 2019, and a Leading Lawyer. She has also been recognized as a Super Lawyer in Family Law 2019-2022.

Content provided by Women Belong member Anna Krolikowska