1. Over 95% of all divorce cases settle before they go to trial, so try mediation rather than taking an adversarial position. To find out if the Divorce Without War® process is right for you, click here.
2. Before you file for divorce, think about your goals for the ultimate outcome of your case. You can only make good decisions in choosing how to file, whether or not to try mediation or collaborative law, how to select an attorney, and how to proceed if you know where you want to end up when it’s all over.
3. Set your intentions with a Divorce Mission Statement. Know who you want to be when your divorce is over. If your top priority is your children, make sure that your decisions and actions are really in their best interests, not just yours.
4. If you choose to represent yourself, get enough information about how to behave in court and what forms you need in order to do it well.
5. Only you can make the best decisions that will determine your future. Do your homework, get information, speak to level-headed friends and qualified professionals (we find accountants and financial planners, and even therapists, are often as much or more helpful than a lawyer), and use self-reflection to decide what’s best for you. Don’t jump to conclusions or rush to a decision. You took years getting to this place, so don’t expect to solve everything in 2 minutes.
6. If the amount of money you’re fighting about won’t matter in 5 years, it probably doesn’t matter now, so let go of it. Sure, it’s more money than you’d leave for a tip, but will it really change your life?
7. Be organized. Use your professional fees wisely. Address your legal questions to your lawyer, and your psychological questions to a counselor or therapist. You may want to keep a notebook so your papers stay organized and in one place.
8. If your goal is “justice” or to “tell the judge my story”, keep in mind that no-fault laws, court over-crowding and pressure on judges to move cases through the system quickly means you’ll get very little time or opportunity to testify. In fact, you may not get the opportunity to testify at all. If you do get a chance to testify, the judge will make a decision that affects the rest of your life after hearing 5 minutes to a few hours of your story. Do you really want a stranger to make your decisions for you? Especially that quickly?
9. Take time to reassess your actions and goals and whether your path is taking you where you want to go. It’s easy to get caught up in the stress of court procedures, or to become entrenched in a specific position.
10. Your divorce will not go on forever (and you don’t want it to). There is an end. Things will get better. And no matter how hard it is to believe, when one door closes, another door opens. You really will move on, even if that’s tough to picture at the moment.
Adapted from “10 Things to Know Before Filing for Divorce” by Diana Mercer.
Mercer, Diana. (2013). 10 Things to Know Before Filing for Divorce. Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved on October 10, 2013, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/diana-mercer/10-things-to-know-before-_b_803250.html.
Article Writen by: Divorce Without War October 10th, 2013
Posted In: Divorce