Ending a marriage is never easy– there’s so much disappointment, sometimes shame, and most of all fear of the unknown. These are all normal feelings, but if you don’t get them under control fast they can play out in very ugly ways as you try to untie the knot.
Most of my divorce clients come to me hoping for an amicable settlement outside of court, and odds are usually in their favor with over 50% of my clients opting for mediation, a cooperative negotiation process or a Collaborative Divorce to end their union with civility and above all utmost privacy. However, half the time the other spouse is not ready to focus on settlement discussions and instead opts to either ignore my invitation to explore creative solutions or hires an aggressive litigator to wage World War III, thereby forcing us into a very public and expensive court battle.
When navigating the divorce process, it’s important to recognize that you cannot control everything. You cannot predict who your spouse will hire, which judge you will get, or how long the process will last. You won’t be able to control the narrative or how the kids will react. You may also have zero ability to manage how the expenses are shared or joint assets are divided. It’s essentially a freefall that can challenge even those with the steadiest of nerves.
Your initial plan should obviously focus on (1) where you’ll live, (2) how you’ll support yourself and (3) a time-sharing schedule that promotes the children’s best interest. You will also need to get some emotional support to help you weather the storm, and ideally obtain legal assistance that works within your budget that you can trust. A good lawyer won’t just take marching orders from you, but will challenge you to think carefully about what’s really worth fighting for, and knowing when it’s best to walk away. Pick your battles carefully. As I like to tell my clients: don’t wrestle with a pig, the pig actually likes it, and you just get dirty.
Recently, a stellar New York City attorney that focuses on high conflict divorces authored a book, “You’re Getting Divorced… Now What?” Sandra Radna provides a great step by step guide for people about to embark in this difficult journey. Here’s the link to our Youtube talk with some helpful tips that she also covers in her book:
A Roadmap To Navigate the Divorce Process – YouTube
By Regina A. DeMeo