When people get married, the hope is always that they will live happily ever after—and some actually do. However, approximately half of all marriages end up in divorce. The probability that a marriage will end in divorce is higher today than at any other time.
To most people, a divorce is an option that they consider only after exploring all other options.
Should you be going through a divorce, it is important that you look for a divorce lawyer who not only has the requisite experience but one who also understands that a divorce is often emotionally draining and hurtful to most people.
To get a positive outcome from your divorce proceedings, you might want to consider the following advice:
1. Don’t Let Your Emotions Get Ahead of You
In divorce proceedings, emotions can fly high. This is because divorce matters are deeply personal and in some cases ridden with vicious personal attacks. Always keep your calm irrespective of what the other party says.
Avoid rash, irrational outbursts or behaviours that could jeopardize your case. Divorce proceedings are usually drawn-out and could be draining. It helps to remain calm and avoid sideshows while at the same time focusing on the big picture—which is getting the best possible outcome.
2. Listen to Your Attorney
You are not an expert in your divorce proceeding—your attorney is. Friends and relatives who mean well may offer you advice and empathize with you, but their advice has no legal basis and could actually be misleading and damaging to your case. Always make sure that your family lawyer is in charge of the process and don’t make decisions or sign any document for shared property or finances until your lawyer approves it.
3. Get Child Support Issues Sorted Out
A divorce attorney should be able to guide you on matters concerning child support. Don’t leave anything to chance. What is “fair and equitable” may look different from each party’s perspective. Let your attorney guide you in establishing the extent of fairness and equitability that you can reasonably expect from a divorce proceeding.
4. Keep Copies of Crucial Documents
You should maintain an accurate record of all shared properties, accounts, wages, pensions, stocks, etc. The last thing you need is to have your divorce proceedings concluded without all shared properties being considered. Provide your attorney with copies of every document you think could help your case so as to get a fair and equitable settlement.
5. Calmly Say No to Anything You Don’t Agree With
Don’t be pressured into agreeing to anything you are not comfortable with. While it is in everyone’s interest to have the proceedings concluded as quickly as possible, don’t let this box you into agreeing to clauses you are uncomfortable with. You would rather have the proceedings take a little longer than sign an agreement that hurts you. Go through every clause with your attorney and only sign when everything has clearly been explained to you and you accept the terms.
6. Use Reconciliatory and Respectful Language
Foul and antagonizing language can make your divorce proceedings drag on indefinitely. A little courtesy and civility will go a long way in making the proceedings fruitful. Also, avoid obstinate terms such as “you did,” “you can’t,” “you should,” “you must,” etc. Instead, use non-assertive terms that appreciate the other person’s point of view without necessarily agreeing with it.
7. Get It in Writing
A divorce settlement must be written down; otherwise, it remains an understanding between parties. For the settlement to be enforceable, it must be written down, with both parties and their respective attorneys appending their signatures.