Going through a divorce isn’t what you signed up for on your wedding day, but it’s what nearly half of all married couples decide to do. The reasons vary, and the circumstances are unique to each couple, but there are some standard pragmatics that you should apply if you find yourself in this situation.
This isn’t just for personal reasons, but for legal ones, too. Divorce is generally a hard decision to make, but it becomes much more difficult during the process if certain mindsets aren’t in place. And though your divorce may not be as public as Brad Pitt’s and Angelina Jolie’s, you should prepare as much as you can to avoid as much of the mess as you can.
Your Friend Is Not Your Lawyer
Be careful not to give too much weight to your friend or family member’s experience in this matter. They may have some good advice that you need to pay attention to, but unless they are divorce counselors or attorneys, take their advice with a grain of salt. They will always mean well, but leave it to the professionals to get you through the logistics.
It Doesn’t Have To Go To Court
Divorce has been caricatured by movies and tv. You may have the impression that it always ends up in a courtroom with witnesses and judges but that’s not the case. And you should consider looking into alternatives if you can.
Mediation is one process in which each spouse retains an attorney for advice and legal work, but a mediator is hired to arbitrate the terms between each spouse. This is typically simple and straightforward. Many couples that want something peaceful and quicker tend to go this route. This can be easier than negotiating for a raise at work, believe it or not.
In Collaborative divorces, the couple generally hires one lawyer together to help them work through the process fairly. Although, in many cases, other professionals in other fields will be hired to assist and make fair accommodations for both spouses. These professionals are typically financial consultants and family counselors.
Don’t Expect To Succeed
If you’re thinking that divorce is often about winning and losing, you’re right. But only to a point. In many divorces, each spouse will angle hard to get what they want when it’s all said and done. And because they work hard to ‘win’, they often fail to prepare for losing.
Be rational and reasonable. It’s very rare for a mediator or judge to side with one spouse about the money, possessions, child custody, and other matters of separation. Unless one spouse has acted irresponsibly or dangerously, legal officials rely on the current laws to determine appropriate outcomes.
Divorce Affects Everyone
It’s often hard to remember that your divorce affects everyone around you. Be mindful of your behavior and interactions. This will protect your chances at winning major battles in mediation, but mostly it will provide mental and emotional health for yourself and others. Needless to say, if you have kids, this is important advice.
Due Diligence and Record-Keeping
In many cases, it’s important to keep track of financial documents and other vital records. You should consider making copies of everything so that each spouse has access to everything. If you try to keep your spouse from accessing important items, you might put yourself in jeopardy when it comes time to sit before a mediator or judge.
Regardless of your reasons for divorce, start getting professional advice as soon as possible and do your best to follow through with their requests in a timely manner. There are less painful ways for divorce to play out than the ones you see on TV.