Many people find their marriage in trouble and think divorce may be the only option left. But before taking that final step, people considering divorce should know some important information about the process and the outcomes.
First, do not go into a divorce like a cage match, filled with negative emotion and thinking only one person will be left standing. These types of approaches only cause everyone unnecessary pain and expense, especially the children. Divorce is not a “win-lose” game; it is a process to set two people on as solid ground as possible to move forward after ending their marriage and breaking up their family.
Second, do not shoot from the hip. Every decision you make in a divorce has great weight and consequence, so you should give it the calm and reasoned thinking it deserves, not knee-jerk reactions.
Third, keep the children out of the divorce and in fact put them above the divorce. The children made no choice to get divorced but they will experience it without knowing all the facts or having a full understanding of a family falling apart. As parents you owe it to the children to put them first and do what will further their interests with the least amount of disruption and emotional trauma.
Fourth, do not listen to every “I have been divorced story” and assume it will be your story. Every divorce is different. The expert you need to ask is the family attorney you hired.
Fifth, do not get lost in the weeds. Many divorces drag on and become ugly because spouses let their emotions overwhelm them and get projected onto very small, insignificant matters. Just remember that arguing over a few hundred dollars is really a loss because of the legal fees you incur arguing over small potatoes. Your goal is building for your future, not holding on to every grudge in the past.
Sixth, understand that a trial is not the ideal way to resolve your case. If you go to trial, you lose your power to control your fate. Once you give the case to a judge, the judge will make all the decisions about property, custody and support. It is to your advantage to work out a settlement with your spouse and your attorneys because you retain control. You may even want to consider alternative more collaborative approaches like mediation to help you reach an acceptable compromise.
Seventh, honesty is the best policy. If you lie to your attorney, it will only come back to haunt you. And if you lie to your spouse, it could haunt you even more.
Finally, keep your expectations reasonable. You will not get 90% of your spouse’s income or property. The rules for property distribution are equitable, and child support is determined from a chart. Can you move away from these numbers? Possibly, but you need to ask your attorney for more details. Also, it may not be worth the expense given a trial and the odds in a given case.
If you are considering divorce, keep these key thoughts in mind and you will emerge from divorce much happier and more whole than you would otherwise.
If you have questions about divorce, contact us – we can help.