It is a mistake to think that a divorce has to be a long, contentious, or combative process. The reality is that you have a lot of control over how your divorce proceeds. And with some preparation and planning, you can avoid the issues that turn a divorce into a war rather than a civil negotiation. Take these 6 steps to help the process proceed smoothly:Step One – Gather Information
As part of your divorce, you will need to dive into the details of your own life and your spouse’s life in ways you may never have before. As early in the process as possible, begin gathering information about account balances, shared property, investments, and anything else that could be fought over during the divorce. Once the process starts, you may be unable to access this information, forcing you to proceed blindly according to assumptions and instincts. Make sure you have all the information you need to fight for what is fairly yours.Step Two – Consider all Options
If you are like a lot of people, you are not interested in a knock down drag out divorce proceeding. You simply want to end your marriage amicably and split your assets fairly. If that is the case, consider an uncontested divorce, a collaborative divorce, or a divorce mediation . These alternatives can settle all the issues involved without turning the divorce into a battle. An uncontested divorce attorney will be able to tell you a lot more about how these options work. Conversely, you may want to drag your spouse over the coals and pursue the most aggressive divorce strategy possible. Early on, figure out what you really want from this process and proceed accordingly.Step Three – Think of Your Kids
If you and your spouse have kids, you should expect the divorce process to be hard and confusing for them. The last thing you want is for issues between you and your spouse to effect your kids now or in the future, so make sure they are insulated from the process as much as possible. Put their needs first, and do not use them to drive a wedge between you and your ex. You will have a much smoother divorce if you simply end your marriage rather than also ending your family.Step Four – Go to Counseling
Divorce is hard no matter how eager you are to end your marriage, how stoic you are, or even if you have been through a divorce before. Seeking out a counselor early can be an asset for dozens of reasons. Remember that someone like an uncontested divorce lawyer is only there to provide legal counsel, not emotional support. As you work through a difficult and confusing chapter in your life, having someone to talk to in a therapeutic way is a big asset. Look for a counselor who specializes in divorce counseling.Step Five – Define Your Priorities
One of the problems that derails a lot of divorce proceedings is fights over things that do not really matter. The process becomes about “winning and losing” rather than accomplishing the outcome that is best for all. Instead of letting your divorce get consumed by petty squabbles, figure out how you really want things to play out. Is keeping the home your biggest priority? Do you want primary custody of the kids? Are you trying to maximize alimony payments? Do you want to pursue an uncontested divorce and simply walk away from your marriage? Figure out what you want above all, and make that your focus instead of all the irrelevant stuff that only wastes your time and energy.Step Six – Be Prepared for What Comes Next
Surprise is your worst enemy in the divorce process. Whether you are at the beginning or the end, you want to be sure that you know what to expect next from a legal, emotional, and procedural standpoint. That way you can prepare yourself adequately and avoid the kinds of unexpected events that only make your divorce more complicated than you want it to be. Your divorce lawyer will be a big resource to rely on, but speaking to friends and family who have been through a divorce also does a lot to help. From beginning to end, try to make decisions based on rational, objective information rather than letting your heightened emotions dictate your actions.
At every step along the way, you can make your divorce smoother by working with the right divorce lawyer. This person works for you and advocates for your best interests from regardless of how you define them. No matter what you hope to achieve, it is your divorce lawyer’s responsibility to make it possible. Whether you want an uncontested divorce lawyer or an attack dog in your corner, you can count on The Stok Kon + Braverman.