The term “divorce” brings to mind an angry couple, fighting over money, children being pulled in different directions and lives turning upside down. While in fact, that happens more often than we’d like, there is a movement towards making divorce easier and less painful process. Divorce processes like Collaborative and Mediation are becoming more commonplace, there is an awareness of the impact on children, and couples are being encouraged to understand their finances before embarking on a costly divorce.
- Don’t start out going to court. Hiring an attorney doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily end up in court. Many skilled litigators are much more interested in negotiating a fair settlement than ending up in front of a judge. In reality, less than 5% of divorce cases go to trial.
- Think about alternative dispute resolution methods. The Collaborative Divorce Process offers a non-adversarial, team approach to divorce, even in high-conflict cases. Under this process, couples sign an agreement to participate. There is a stipulation in that agreement that says their attorneys will be disqualified in the event of a breakdown. Neutral third parties such as Financial Advisors and/or Therapists can participate in facilitating the process.
- Put yourself in your spouse’s shoes. Regardless of the anger and hurt you feel, if you go in with your dukes up asking for the moon, sun, and stars, you’ll lose more than you’ll gain. You likely have a fixed pool of assets (no matter how large or small), and both want what’s best for your children. If you can keep that in mind and think about where your spouse is coming from, you’ll likely be more understanding and come up with a fair solution in less time.
- Divorce moves as slow as the slowest person. If you your partner is stuck and unwilling to compromise, take a step back. Rather than fighting and having your lawyer continue firing off costly letters, take a break from the negotiating table. Think about what’s most important for you to move on with your life. Perhaps your spouse needs time to digest the idea of divorce, or you realize, they will never give up and you have to take less than you rightly should get to end the fight.
Divorce doesn’t have to be an all-out, drag-out war. With the right mindset and strategy, you can avoid a never-ending, costly, high-conflict divorce.