When couples decide to marry, it suddenly seems as if every family member, friend, and colleague feels the need to pass along advice for the road ahead. For better and for worse, most people do not react in the same way to news that a couple has decided to divorce. In a way, this can be a relief as unwelcome advice can be taxing when given during an already emotionally fraught time. However, some helpful advice can be welcome when individuals are trying to navigate their ways through the divorce process.
If both divorce attorneys and individuals who have survived the divorce process were to give newly divorcing couples advice, what would it be? Each divorce is unique, so no advice fits every situation. However, there are some tips that one should consider when contemplating divorce or newly approaching the process.
First, understand that no one approach best fits every divorce. While it is generally good advice to work collaboratively in order to keep divorce-related legal costs down, sometimes litigation is necessary. If your asset division situation is complex, you will likely be engaging in a contentious custody dispute or your spouse is an abusive person or true narcissist, litigation may be the best route for you. Please approach interviewing potential legal counsel with your unique interests in mind.
Second, it is important to read the fine print in any agreements drafted that requires your signature. The wording used in property division settlements and parenting agreements may be complex, nuanced, confusing, and potentially manipulative. Do not sign anything that makes you uncomfortable unless you have shared your concerns with your attorney first.
Lastly, it is important to pick your battles with an eye towards the future. Your emotions are likely running high right now. However, it is the decisions that will impact your future and not validate your past that currently deserve your energy and resources.
Source: Huffington Post, “Divorce Process: Readers Share Their Tips On Divorce Litigation,” May 29, 2013.