Ten Thoughts for a Successful Divorce
Even though you’ve decided to dissolve your marriage, you might not be mentally ready for the divorce process. Going through with your divorce requires you to shift focus so you can deal with the upheaval that, hopefully, won’t last too long. Because the decisions you make during your divorce will affect your future, you must do a little mental preparation. To get you started, Bryan L. Salamone & Associates offers these 10 thoughts to keep in mind for a successful divorce:
- Divorce is about the future
Marriage counseling is about working through past mistakes. By the time you’ve decided to divorce, you should be focused entirely on the future. What will your financial situation be? Where will your children live and go to school? How often will you see them? Rehashing regrets from the past keeps you from making important plans for the future.
- Don’t draw rules from people’s divorces
We’ve handled thousands of divorces, so we can see patterns from recurring scenarios. But if you’ve only been talking to your divorced friends or reading celebrity gossip, you can’t tell whether something is a rule or an outlier. Don’t get hung up on what you’ve heard about the divorce process: trust your attorney, who has a wealth of experience.
- Your children aren’t parties to the action
It can’t be stressed enough that children don’t get divorced — parents do. So, unless your children are at risk because of the other parent, you’ve got to accept their right to neutrality in the process. And you’ve got to accept that your soon-to-be ex is going to continue to be present in your children’s lives.
- Honesty is still the best policy
Start by being honest with yourself. What do you want for your future? Where do your children fit into that picture? Are you suited to being a primary caregiver, either full time or part time? How much of your marital estate do you think you are entitled to? Communicate honestly with your attorney, and don’t be afraid to be honest with your spouse in negotiations or mediation.
- Cooperating with your spouse can make divorce easier
You don’t always have to assume an adversarial posture to get what you want in a divorce. You shouldn’t worry that playing nice with your spouse will draw you back into the relationship. You’re past that point now. But engaging in mediation or even a collaborative process can make the divorce go more quickly and smoothly.
- Preparation beats relying on memory
You’ve got a great many issues to decide, and your settlement depends on factual details. Take inventory. Gather financial documents and your children’s school and medical records. Make a list of your assets and debts. Take photographs of various pieces of property. The more prepared you are to discuss the details of your issues, the better your chances of a positive outcome.
- Court is not necessarily a solution
It can be frustrating to go through a divorce where the other party is being unreasonable, tempting you to think that bringing your ex before a judge will solve everything. You might be right; the judge might read your spouse the riot act. On the other hand, the judge might not be so riled by bad behavior, because it happens all too often in family court. So, before you march off to court, you should consider the downside: higher costs for your divorce and a much slower process due to the crowded court calendar.
- Nobody gets everything they want
Despite what you sometimes hear about one spouse taking the other to the cleaners, most divorce settlements are achieved through compromise. You must set reasonable goals for your divorce and be willing to engage in some give-and-take.
- You can’t separate decisions from their consequences
The demands you make and the course you decide to pursue have consequences. Some may be positive, some can be negative, and some can really come back to haunt you. Listen to your attorney’s advice so you can anticipate possible consequences and make adjustments to your plan. If you decide you can live with the downside of a decision, that’s fine. But what you can’t do is pretend nothing can go wrong.
- Both sides can win
Of course, it’s possible to win at divorce when winning means achieving reasonable goals for a secure and manageable future. On the other hand, if you think of winning as making sure your spouse loses, you’re probably not going to be happy with any outcome. As long as your rights are protected and you’re on solid footing to start the next chapter of your life, you’ve won. And if you’ve won, there’s no shame in letting your spouse win, too.
Naturally, an experienced divorce attorney can help you focus on what truly matters while you go through the divorce process.