"Where are you going to go?" That was the first question that my husband asked me when I told him I wanted a divorce. It wasn't concern in his voice, what he meant to do was point out that I had nowhere to go. He was only partly right -- while I'd moved to this country to be with him and our constant traveling around and his sheltering of me had prevented me from making too many friends, we were also living at the birth of the social web. My zealous adoption of Twitter and other social networks had inadvertently created a network of friends for me in Los Angeles. I didn't even have to leave the house.
As things continued to deteriorate, I would come to rely heavily on this network of friends for everything from finding a divorce attorney to figuring out what steps I needed to take. When my husband threw me out overnight a couple of weeks later, it would be my friend Mia, whom I met on Twitter, who would drive me back to town from my mother-in-law's with all my things. She and her husband Edward essentially took me in as I settled into my new life. I signed my divorce papers a few blocks from their place, at the office of a notary public off Wilshire, a few blocks from the 405.
I was fortunate. Divorce is not easy and this difficulty is only exacerbated by all the changes that must be made when one leaves their spouse. And what of those who, for whatever reason, don't have a network on which to rely for help and shelter?
I've often thought about this, which is why, when Korman Communities' pitch landed in my inbox, I immediately clicked the link. Korman Communities is an integrated real estate company dating back to 1909. Forty years ago, they launched their furnished apartment concepts, which offered renters fully furnished apartments with flexible, short-time lease agreements. Over the course of time, this concept has expanded to include a host of amenities for renters, along with AVE, which are furnished, short-stay suites specifically catering to people going through separation or divorce.
Among the amenities included are breakfast and dry-cleaning -- necessities that can quickly fade into the background as we struggle to find a new balance. Every month, the community hosts a get-together to help residents begin the transition from married to single -- it's a great set-up. I can't speak for myself, as I have done nothing but the most rudimentary research on it, but up front, it sounds like a viable housing option to consider.
At present, AVE suites are available in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virgina, but Korman offers similar style flexible lease arrangements in various New York cities, as well as Washington DC, and soon, they will be expanding to Los Angeles and London.
It's a great concept, and I'm happy that the option has been made available. I'd like to begin compiling a list of resources by state for people going through divorce or separation. When we're changing our lives so radically, the less we have to figure out on our own, the more time we can devote to making the right decisions for ourselves (and our children, in many cases). Do you have any suggestions for this list? Tell me the resources you know, and don't forget to mention your state!
In the meantime, here are some great sites chock full of information and advice.
The Modern Woman’s Divorce Guide has an excellent section devoted to divorce planning, from do-it-yourself divorce, to planning a safe escape from an abusive marriage.
Advice for Real Life: Falling Apart in One Piece by BlogHer co-founder Lisa Stone reviews Redbook-editor Stacy Morrison’s book Falling Apart In One Piece, an optimist’s journey through the hell of divorce.
Co-parenting 101 is a blog dedicated to the challenges of parenting after divorce. It includes legal resources and offers a weekly podcast.
Wikivorce has a step-by step guide to dissolving a marriage and making financial and childcare arrangements. The site also offers a host of blogs, tools and resources. It’s worth a browse.
AV Flox is the editor of Sex and the 405 -- what your newspaper would look like if it had a sex section.
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