Friday, July 10, 2009

Divorce ABC

Overwhelmed, anxious, sad, scared, rejected, lonely . . . these feelings constitute just a few stops along the emotional roller coaster of divorce. If your divorce included disputes over children (whether financial or custodial), the stress increases exponentially.

The term “simple divorce” is often an oxymoron – how can the unraveling of a financial, emotional and romantic family unit be a simple process? Unless neither you nor your spouse have assets, debts, income or children, your divorce will involve some issues that need to be resolved. While an anxiety-free/stress-free divorce may be an impossibility (after all, you are disentangling from the person who you promised to be with “til death do you part”), keep the following three thoughts in mind: each tip conveniently beginning A, B and C.


Attitude

Be realistic and reasonable, choosing your battles and concentrating on what is most important. Do not let the divorce process overtake you. Your divorce could take a few months or a few years – but you should not wait for your life to begin once the divorce is over – do not put your life on hold. As in many areas of life, a positive attitude will serve you well through what can be an unpleasant process.

Business like

When going through a divorce, you mourn the loss of the marriage but also move on to a new chapter in your life. Spending too much time and energy in the mourning phase will prevent you from concentrating on what you need for that next chapter. Perhaps most importantly, conducting yourself in the most efficient and business-like manner possible will help you make sound decisions – decisions that could affect you for the rest of your life. Treating a divorce like the closing or dividing of a business is the best thing you can do for yourself– both emotionally and financially. If you fall into the trap of using the divorce process to attempt to hurt your spouse emotionally, take positions merely to prove a point or principle or to play out revenge, you will usually end up costing yourself more in time and attorneys’ fees without advancing your position in the litigation.

Control

Recognize what you can and cannot control. The cost and length of a divorce process depends on a variety of factors: your timely and cooperative participation, your attorney’s diligence, the other party’s cooperation or lack thereof, opposing counsel’s cooperation or lack thereof, the complexity of the issues involved, the court process (including the crowded docket), cooperation of experts involved and external factors (waiting for someone to receive a bonus or get a job, the sale of a house or business or the progress of the children, to name a few). Control what is within your power and domain but recognize what you cannot control.
Keep accurate records by maintaining a file, in chronological order of every piece of paper in your case: letters, pleadings, financial information, memorandums of phone calls and a calendar of events. By being organized, you will save yourself the aggravation of wasting time looking for things and you will be more knowledgeable about your own case.

Court dockets can be crowded and litigants often spend a great deal of court time sitting and waiting. Bring reading material or something else to keep you occupied - this will ease the stress of anxiety of what you will otherwise perceive as wasted time.

When the other side creates havoc, confusion and chaos, realize that there may be some tactics that your attorney can utilize to compel cooperation. However, not all bad behavior from the other side can be controlled. When facing this type of immutable situation, realize that although you cannot change the other party’s actions, you may be able to change your reaction.

So, while following these three guidelines will not guarantee you an effortless, stress-free divorce, keeping these particular A, B and C in mind will provide you some peace of mind and a good foundation from which to go through this very difficult process.

2 comments:

Louise Williams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Louise Williams said...

Hi Linda, I really appreciate the professional and positive attitude in your blog. It encourages me in areas where I'm doing ok and helps me know where I can do better. Thank you so much!