FAQ: Is there such as thing as “smooth sailing” when it comes to divorce?

divorceA divorce process is never fun – but each couple’s experience lands in a different spot on the “pain scale”. Some divorces are relatively smooth and quick. Others seem to drag on, costing Husband and Wife a small fortune, and destroying what little goodwill and humanity is left in the relationship. If you are facing a divorce, you are probably wondering what you can do to minimize the damage, the pain and the expense to get to the other side. Here are 5 bits of advice to help your divorce process go smoother.

If you have kids, focus on their interests first.

Husband and Wife may not see eye to eye on every parenting issue, but most couples I have worked with are genuinely concerned about the impact of the divorce on their kids. Mud-slinging and ugly courtroom scenes are incredibly destructive to the children. Focus on creating the outcome that will be best for them in the long run – however you define that.

Take charge.

Divorce can feel like a wild roller-coaster that affords you very little control over what happens next. Do your best to identify the decisions you can control and exert some influence over. Even if the divorce was unexpected and feels like something that is happening “to you”, remember that you are an active participant with an ability to change the outcome. Take a breath, look for where you can have impact, and continue to shape the conversation.

Stay focused.

Every divorce is made up of a hundred decisions. Some are relatively small (who keeps the couch?) while others are critical (how do we divide the investments?) A mistake I see often is a spouse who latches on to a relatively small detail – and then charges into battle over it, no matter the cost or the effort. Decide ahead of time which issues are worth the fight. If you pick the right ones, your list will be short. Then keep that list front and center to remind you to stay focused on what matters most.

Let go of what’s wrong.

This point can be a challenge for many couples – after all, if everything was right they would not be facing a divorce! The list of wrongdoings is long, and some clients approach the process with the idea that they want to get their day in court. After all, once the judge hears their side of the story, he will surely know who’s in the right! People have a romantic idea of what happens in the courtroom based on TV shows and movies. I can tell you from experience that real divorce court is nothing like what you see on TV.

The reality of walking into the courtroom is that you are giving control to a third party who will only be exposed to a small fraction of your story. The decision will affect the rest of your life, and the rules around property division, alimony, child visitation and child support are rigid.

If you are looking to retain control over the outcome of the divorce, and want to make the process as smooth as possible, consider collaborative divorce. In addition to an attorney who represents you, you will be able to rely on the expertise of neutral professionals to sort out tough financial and emotional aspects of the separation. Brazos Valley Collaborative Divorce Alliance can recommend attorneys and neutral professionals in your area who are trained and experienced in helping people like you find solid ground after the divorce. Give us a call to get connected to the right support team!

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About Jana Foreman

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