December 5, 2013
There are many things you can do to avoid an all-out war in divorce court. Here are 6 tips to keep in mind even before hiring a lawyer ( but they may not be useful if there are issues of domestic violence in your case):
1. Understand that information is key. This applies to not just the information on financial issues or basic facts, but also to information on the divorce process and alternatives to fighting in divorce court. Get it while you’re not under the financial and emotional stress of a court case; you might be able to use it to make peace somewhere along the way.
2. Depending on your relationship with your spouse, discuss with him or her which approach you want to take first: mediation, mediation together with a lawyer for each, or just get separate lawyers. The chances for each of you to be satisfied–not happy, just satisfied–are better and will cost you less if you try either of the first two options before getting.
3. If you have children, speak with your spouse and try to get him or her to keep them out of the divorce. This means not using the children as weapons against each other and always trying to think of what’s in their best interest.
4. If you’re going to hire a lawyer, get referrals from your friends. Then, see at least three lawyers before you hire any one. Understand that a lawyer is there to help you and guide you, but you are always the one in control of the decision to fight or settle some or all of the issues at any time.
5. Finally, if nothing works and you end up fighting it out in divorce court, try to make assessments as often as you can to see what can be settled, and what must be decided by a judge.
6. If things become too much for you and your children, consider getting counseling for you and them. Divorce, even the friendliest one, is usually emotionally difficult.
These tips are not a guarantee that everything will be smooth sailing in your divorce. But staying aware and involved in the process will lessen the frustration and hurt that could cloud your judgment to help you resolve the situation, not to mention that it can also save you money.