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Support, information, and hope: Workshop helps women navigate every aspect of divorce

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Antonia Di Leo is a successful career woman, with three beautiful children. Like millions of New York women, she went through a difficult divorce and had no one to turn to — and didn’t know who to trust. It was a scary and overwhelming time, but she got through it.

After reading about a workshop called Second Saturday — which has been running throughout the country for 28-plus years — she felt that every woman going through such a tough and challenging time should have the important knowledge offered in this program before she begins an often perilous journey.

“The objective of this valuable workshop,” says Di Leo, “is to empower women going through a divorce.”

After her divorce, Di Leo was able to turn her life around with help from family and a lot of friends. She points out that during this time, it’s so important to be around positive people that support you and love you through thick and thin.

“I also started speaking with a family friend who is now my fiancé. We have known each other since we were 14, and both our families used to vacation together when we were younger. He supported me emotionally and showed me the true meaning of love, commitment, and support. My children adore him and we have a beautiful life together with a cottage in Pennsylvania, to show them what growing up in the outdoors is like.”

Di Leo obtained her license as a marriage and family therapist, and was certified in divorce mediation. She’s now working as a mental health therapist for two online companies, so she can work from home and be with her kids.

She’s also now running her own Second Saturday workshops.

“I am also creating these workshops in Manhattan and Long Island, and in the process of developing a conference on how to manage divorce, so women are prepared and have sound professional advice before entering into this frightening time.”

Second Saturday has three components: a financial, legal, and emotional piece. These are also the main issues that women struggle with during the divorce process.

Each workshop will have a professional from each field present on his or her topic; the professional will also stay until the workshop is over and answer any questions people need help with. The workshops will run at the MetLife Building in Manhattan every Thursday from 6 to 8 pm, and the first will be on March 30.

The presenter for the legal portion is divorce attorney Lisa M. Gardner from Wisselman and Associates, financial presenter Wendy Brown is an advisor from Merrill Lynch, and Di Leo and marriage and family therapist Lauren Brugger will present on the emotional aspect of divorce.

The fee for the two-hour workshop is $45, and you can call to reserve a spot, but at this point, says Di Leo, the workshop does not require a definite RSVP, since women going through this may need to keep the workshop confidential, or could be going through a difficult time emotionally, and the group does not want to burden them with feeling obligated to RSVP.

Di Leo says the reason she became interested in starting these workshops is two-fold.

“Going through a difficult divorce, and being a mother of three and going through such a difficult time with children, I wanted to be an example to other women that they can do it, and there are people that truly care and want to help.”

The busy mom has a 10-year-old son Giancarlo, and twin girls, Gianna and Olivia, who are 8.

“They are my heart and soul and I cherish the time we have together,” she says.

The family currently lives in Nassau County, Long Island, and Di Leo says she has the space at the MetLife Building, and also conducts video sessions for people who have a tough schedule.

Second Saturday divorce workshop at MetLife Building [200 Park Ave., 13th floor, between E. 43rd and E. 45th streets in Midtown, www.secondsaturday.com]. March 30, 6–8 pm. Meets every Thursday. $45 per person.

Learn from the professionals: Antonia Di Leo, marriage and family therapist and divorce mediator, (516) 382–5440 and marriage and family therapist Lauren Brugger, (516) 667–0707. Lisa M Gardner, matrimonial and family law attorney at Wisselman and Associates, (516) 773–8300. Wendy Brown, certified divorce financial planner at Merrill Lynch, Fenner and Smith, (212) 338–6093.

Tammy Scileppi is a Queens-based freelance writer and journalist, parent, and regular contributor to New York Parenting. Interviewing hundreds of New York City’s movers and shakers has been an amazing adventure for her. Scileppi’s work has appeared in a variety of media outlets. She has also written book cover copy for Simon and Schuster.

Posted 12:00 am, March 9, 2017
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