Is is possible to go through divorce with minimum stress and conflict, and still protect your assets, your children — and your sanity? Yes! Here are three key things to avoid to achieve a good divorce without so much struggle.
Stop: Letting Your Emotions Hijack Reason
You probably have good reasons for being angry with your spouse. Maybe she cheated on you the entire marriage. Maybe he gambled away the kids’ college funds. Maybe he treated you like The Help. You’re entitled to feel whatever you feel about your STBX (soon-to-be-ex), but here’s what will happen if you let your emotions run riot:
- You’ll make bad legal and financial decisions. The choices you make now will impact you and your children for the rest of your lives. If you let emotion dictate your decisions, you may end up with circumstances you could have avoided if you’d taken the time to think clearly. For instance: you let your spouse bully you into accepting a financial settlement that you believe is less than you deserve so you can stop feeling anxious. Guess what? Not only will you suffer an irreversible, long-term financial hit, but you will also signal your ex that he or she can walk all over you. Get a handle on your anxiety now, and ask for what you deserve.
- You’ll waste money on revenge. Are you fighting over an extra 1% timeshare? Spending $10,000 to get the $2000 chandelier? Willing to plow through your kids’ inheritance just to make sure your ex is properly punished? Making your spouse suffer will not change the past or make you any happier. It will, however, make you bitter and broke. And even if you emerge from the divorce with plenty of cash, you will never be able to control what your ex does or feels. They can still go on and be happy with their lives, despite your desire to make them miserable.
Stop: Falling Prey to a Shark Attorney
It’s a myth that you need a shark attorney to get you a good settlement. There is no guarantee that an aggressive lawyer will be more effective than a less litigious one. Here what’s likely to happen instead:
- The attorney makes negotiation impossible. An attorney who screams at opposing counsel during phone conversations and creates mountains of paperwork will grind the negotiation process down to a halt.
- The attorney ends up with all your money. Every meeting, every phone conversation, every filing, every court appearance, drives up your legal fees without necessarily speeding the divorce process. Less than ethical attorneys know this and are perfectly happy to take your money.
- Your children suffer. The conflict generated by a shark attorney will eventually reach your children. Shark attorneys can turn baseless allegations into custody battles. They can fuel your own anger and fear, impairing your ability to co-parent effectively.
Stop: Being Rigid
You need flexible thinking to be able to negotiate. No one gets everything they want in divorce. Here are some of the pitfalls that come from being married to your point-of-view.
- You won’t be able to resolve conflict. If you’re stubborn and uncompromising, you will just frustrate your ex, blow up mediation, and run up legal fees. Loss is inherent in divorce; insisting that you alone have school choice, or that the children cannot be exposed to your spouse’s religion, will not resolve your grief. You must accept that you cannot control how your ex parents your children and accept that there is more than one way to solve a problem.
- You will stop growing. If you’re convinced that you’re right about everything, you won’t be able to see your own part in problems. And if you don’t acknowledge your shortcomings and modify your behavior, you will just recycle the same problems. So use your divorce as an opportunity for growth. Embrace the change you need to have a meaningful life.
Have questions? If you are going through a divorce and want more information regarding custody, parenting time or any other issue, we can help. To schedule your initial consultation, please call us at 888-888-0919, or use our contact form. Speaking with one of our experienced and compassionate family law attorneys will help you devise a plan for securing your bright future.