Family Law Attorney Anna Krolikowska Shares Her WisdomFeb 10, 2021
After meeting with Family Law Attorney Anna Krolikowska, I knew I needed to share her wisdom with you! Ms. Krolikowska is a Chicago-based attorney who takes a compassionate approach with her clients, especially as they navigate the early stages of divorce.
Anna, I work primarily with professional women who are like superwomen balancing heavy demands at work and at home. What is the first thing you would say to a woman in a highly demanding job who just realized she is also going to be faced with divorce?
A woman should first realize she is not alone and ask for help. Unfortunately, with 50% of marriages ending in divorce there are many women who face that realization. Although most women with highly demanding jobs are accustomed to handling it all, they need to realize that divorce will require time, and energy and may be accompanied by unfamiliar emotional burdens that can be very difficult to shoulder without good professional support. Surround yourself with the best possible team. To me that means finding the right attorney for you, who understands and supports your goals, and can guide you through the divorce process regardless of which modality, collaborative divorce, mediation, or litigation you choose. Also, if you are not working with a coach or mental health professional contact them now. Their support can make a difference not just in the outcome of your case, but also your ability to get through a difficult and sometimes time-consuming process.
What is the best way for women to learn more about their legal options when it comes to divorce?
Talk to an attorney who focuses her practice on family law, ideally someone who works with all three approaches to divorce, collaborative process, mediation or litigation. Educate yourself. If your attorney does not educate you, you may want to consider another attorney. After all, how can you make an informed decision which will impact your future if you do not understand your options and their future impact? Many of my clients initially do not realize the various qualities each divorce strategy offers. It truly helps to understand the ways in which couples may get divorced prior to initiating a divorce.
How do you help your clients manage the "business of divorce” such as paperwork, forms, agreements and beyond?
It depends on the client. Yes, we offer the support of myself and staff when organizing and dealing with paperwork, but there are also other options. Sometimes the best option for a client who needs to familiarize herself with the family financials would be for that client to work with a Certified Divorce Financial Advisor, or in the collaborative divorce process a financial neutral, to better understand the financials and their options. We can help the client find the right professionals and resources.
Many professional moms find divorce especially taxing on their children, what advice do you have to make sure things are running smoothly at home?
Put the kids first. Don’t talk about the divorce or re-hash old arguments, even if you think the kids are not there, or can’t hear you. Just because your soon-to-be-ex was a bad spouse to you does not necessarily make them a bad parent. Certainly, don’t talk to the kids about the divorce. Your kids are 50% you and 50% the other parent. When they hear you say negative or derogatory things about the other parent they internalize it and believe that since they are 50% the other parent they are also bad, or have whatever negative characteristic you ascribe to the other parent. A lot also depends on which divorce method you use. During collaborative process the parents will work with coaches to determine when to tell the kids, how to tell them, and what script the parents will follow when the kids ask questions so that the parents are on the same page and present divorce in the best way possible for the kids. This conversation, as well as what you do later can have life-long impact on your children. Put them first.
What is one thing you would like to tell professional women to do to make the divorce process easier on themselves?
Professional women should first realize that this process can be challenging and even emotionally agonizing. Professional women are often so self-assured, but it is ok to feel vulnerable through this process. Surround oneself with really high-quality, compassionate advisors and move through the steps with greater assurance. I’ve seen many strong women emerge even stronger through the experience of marital dissolution even when, privately, they felt scared, hurt or unsure of the best approach. Good advisors will ensure each woman makes the best possible decision for her circumstance.
What does "happily better after" mean to you?
What it means to me is significantly less important than what it means to my clients. How do they define “happily better after”, especially as they go through their divorce process and define what they want their life to look like post-divorce. Some modalities, like mediation or collaborative process might be better suited to allowing for that type of reflecting, but all women will need to define “happily better after” for themselves as they transition to their new lives. Ultimately, the goal of divorce is to get oneself to a better point in life. Ending a marriage is a significant process and experience. In a perfect world we learn from the experience and work to uncover the ways in which we can make a better life post-divorce.
More about Ms. Krolikowska:
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 [email protected], or (847) 715-9328 to schedule a consultation. Follow Anna on Facebook.com/AttyKrolikowska
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