The Foreign Service Journal - March 2018

42 MARCH 2018 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL is anything they can do to help them through a difficult time.” It would also help, Jennifer adds, if the RMO, CLO or someone else at post contacted FLO as soon as they learned of the situation at post, asking FLO’s crisis support team to reach out to the spouse directly. This would give the spouse a neutral person to turn to for initial support and expert advice, and maybe that way, she says, spouses wouldn’t “feel so all alone.” While Jennifer felt isolated, Jean felt as though the entire com- munity was watching her marriage disintegrate. “Getting divorced in the fishbowl that is the FS was horrible,” she says. “I never want to be in the FS again. I miss some benefits, like travel, household help, the challenge of living abroad.” But, she says, “I wouldn’t give upmy life now. I love it. And I never again want to live in the fishbowl.” What to Do When Facing Divorce Contact FLO. According to Susan Frost, director of the Family Liaison Office, “FLO encourages employees and family mem- bers considering separation or divorce to reach out to our office, either in person or by phone or email. We will walk them through resources and options based on their specific scenario.”The Fam- ily Liaison Office has an extensive database of divorce-related documents online ( . FLO also maintains a detailed list of things you need to do before leaving post, such as requesting “Advance Return of Family Travel Orders” and notarizing a joint property statement so you will be able to access your belongings in storage. You will also need a “Statement of Mutual Consent,” signed by both partners, stating that neither of you is abandoning the other. Where to Go For Answers and Support Family Liaison Office maintains a wealth of resources for family members going through a divorce. All of their documents and links can be accessed online at Among these resources is “Divorce and the Foreign Service, ” a detailed guide that will walk you through the necessary steps to take at the beginning of the process and explain what documents you will need. FLO’s crisis management and support team can answer questions and refer you to legal, mental health, employment and other resources. Email them at FLO- or call them at (202) 647-1076. Employee Consultation Services provides con- fidential, short-term counseling and referrals for both employees and family members. Email them at . The Retirement Network of the U.S. Department of State (RNet) has information related to former spouse retirement benefits at index.cfm?pg=dfsb. AFSA maintains a resource collection on divorce at, as well as a list of attorneys who have worked with Foreign Service families. The list, which includes family law specialists, can be found at The October 2014 Foreign Service Journal published an article about managing the child custody issues that frequently crop up in Foreign Service divorces. Addition- ally, in December 2013 the Journal ran an FS Know-How article about divorce written by two Foreign Service officers who went through the process themselves. Brilliant Exits provides coaching and counseling ser- vices. They also run the Second Saturday program on a monthly basis in Fairfax, Virginia. Dads at a Distance supports fathers who are parent- ing long-distance, either due to divorce or because of their chosen careers. Northern Virginia Mediation Service helps families mediate and manage conflict including divorce/sepa- ration and co-parenting. The Truman Group specializes in psychological care for expats, including remote therapy sessions. The Women’s Center provides mental health, legal and career counseling. —Donna Gorman