While practicing as a Divorce Lawyer I have seen hundreds of cases and so it is simple for me to list out some thoughts and ideas for handling a divorce in a better way.
The information here is intended to be straightforward and simple, so that people who are facing a difficult divorce situation can glean from this list key ideas that I believe will help them avoid unnecessary delays, and will help them move through a divorce with the best perspective.
So here are what I feel, based on my experience as a practicing family law attorney, are 10 key thoughts that can help anyone who may be facing a difficult divorce.
Don't expect to have everything your way. As upset as you may be, and as unfair as you feel things are, if you seek complete domination, you will be disappointed. California is a no fault state, and when it comes to dividing property, awarding child support, spousal support, and working out a child custody plan, the law and court discretion will control. There are things you can do to help your situation, but you must be realistic. Remember you married the person, and so now you will have to work through a divorce that will require some compromise.
Don't expect to have your case settled in a week. It takes time to work out a marital settlement agreement in most cases. You can work quickly to get your paperwork ready and a proposal drawn up. however, if your ex doesn't want to sign off right away, you may have to go through the court system, and this takes time. We live in what I call a "drive thru" society. We all want things done NOW as if we are ordering a Starbucks coffee or a hamburger from Mc Donald's. So put it in low gear and expect for things to move forward, but not at lightening speed.
Divorce is painful and no one should minimize the pain of a divorce, however, try to remember that "this too shall pass." You are not alone. Seek out family and friends and look for positive ways to rebuild yourself and your future. Keep the emotions out of the legalities and allow your attorney to walk you through the process. Be reasonable and logical, and do your best not to confuse your pain from the divorce with the facts and the law.
Yes you should protect your legal rights and you should make sure you come out of the situation in the best possible way under the circumstances, but don't allow yourself to get dragged into an all out war over every petty detail Think of yourself as a person of strength, and as one who will rise above the circumstances.
Kids are not to be used as pawns. It's not their fight, and it's not their problem. You need to be a grown up and protect their lives and provide stability for them. Again, think of yourself as one who will rise above the circumstances. You will not allow your situation to destroy you and your children.
Divorces are tough no question, but try not to blame your attorney when everything doesn't go your way. It's reasonable to expect your divorce attorney to do a good job, but it is not reasonable to expect them to win every little battle with your ex, and to solve all of your life problems. Also, remember divorce lawyers are busy people and they have families too. It makes sense to see them as human and work with them and not against them. If your lawyer doesn't call you back the same day, call in and make an appointment and go in to discuss your concerns. Write things down and have an attitude that is realistic and helpful. Don't be the client who jumps from attorney to attorney hoping to find the magic answer. Work through your issues WITH your attorney. Help your attorney help you.
Make sure you do your part to get your paperwork done in a timely manner. If you expect your case to go as smoothly as possible, then do your part with working through the documents your attorney needs from you. Unfortunately paperwork plays a large role in the legal system. It is a necessary evil and if you avoid doing your part, you will create unnecessary delays, which in turn can create more court dates, and more fees.
We all need our friends and we all need someone to lean on, especially during difficult times, and a divorce certainly qualifies as a difficult time. However, friends can be an obstacle in a divorce case if they influence your thinking in such a way that it causes you to question your attorney's judgment. Friends sometimes want to compare their own cases with yours, or tell you about how somebody else had a better outcome than you. Remember, every case is different. Does your friend have the same income as you or your ex? Does your friend have the same number of kids as you and your ex? Does your friend have the same debt level as you and your ex? Does your friend live close to his/or her ex, or do they live in different cities? There are many many factors that come into play in a family law case. If the facts are different from your friend's case, then the outcome may very well be different from your friend's outcome. Make sure you pay attention to YOUR CASE and give less attention to your friend's case.
Find a professional family counselor and see them every other week or so. Friends are great, but they have a biased view of your situation, and sometimes their well-intentioned support, may not offer you the help you need. You can also use a pastor or church elder to speak with. Don't go it alone, especially if you find yourself making poor decisions and acting out on impulse. Find someone who can help you get proper perspective.
Divorce is a negative event. No one goes into a marriage expecting they would divorce someday. But now that it is happening, it's time to look to the future and count your blessings. I'm not talking about celebrating getting rid of the ex here, but rather the future you will have building better relationships with your kids and your friends. Try to avoid all the negative chatter. The more you talk about the ex and what he or she has done etc., the more you will stay in one negative place, without moving forward. And trust me, your friend's will get tired of being around you if all you talk about is the ex and blah blah blah blah blah. Control you mind and focus on goals. For myself, I am a Christian, and what helps me is to pray and ask God to help me to grow and to keep my thoughts positive. We live in a troubled world and we will face difficulties, but it's how we react to them that makes all the difference.