I remember about 9 years ago when I needed to make a big life changing decision.  I knew I needed to decide whether or not to leave my safe, predictable law position or go and start my own firm, practicing in a way that felt aligned with my values.  But there were so many uncertainties about making the change.  So I maintained the status quo longer than planned because I needed to get to the place of being ready to take that next step.  And sometimes circumstances push us to a place of being ready before we were planning on it. This is what happens when people divorce.  Usually, one spouse has been contemplating the idea longer than the other and when they make the decision to move forward with divorce, their spouse is not at the same place of readiness.  And when people decide to get a divorce, wanting it over sooner rather than later is what many people want.  But paying attention to where your partner is in readiness, can make all the difference between a good divorce and a bad divorce.  This is something you have influence over.  Giving your spouse a chance to “catch up” and come to terms with the end of the relationship means they will be able to move forward with less resentment, anger and sadness.  And those emotions in a divorce do not make for smooth sailing for you or your children.  If you want a peaceful divorce, readiness is your first opportunity to begin that process. There are things that you can do to move things forward that you can discuss with your attorney, while your soon-to-be ex catches up, like researching your divorce process options (i.e., Collaborative Divorce, Mediation, etc.), gathering necessary documents, working with a therapist, or exploring separating.  But to push them into a process before they are ready, can end up being a disastrous decision.  Giving them time, can be the best thing you do for yourself and your family as a whole.  This is the difference between being penny-wise and pound-foolish and having a no-court divorce. If I had been forced to start my practice before I was ready, I might have chosen to do a different area of law; not found my great office space; and possibly made unwise financial decisions, rather than practicing Collaborative Family Law (something that I truly enjoy doing) in an office that feels safe and comfortable to my clients.  Being ready made all the difference for me.

4 Replies to “Divorce Readiness: Penny-Wise or Pound-Foolish?”

  1. Divorce readiness is something so often overlooked in a non-collaborative process. Just the awareness that spouses are often at different places coming into the process can be huge for helping the process go well. Thanks for your thoughtful commentary.

  2. Thanks Kimberly, I just had a client come in on Friday who met with me one month prior and the one month made a world of difference in him being able to move forward with the divorce. He was a different man, not scared confused and angry at what was happening. Originally his wife was pushing him to move forward but her Collaborative attorney urged her to give him time, and she did. That was extremely valuable advice from her attorney.

  3. well said, Louise! And so true. You are a gifted woman and attorney. We need more women like you in your line of work!

  4. One of the great benefits of collaborative practice is the ability to adjust to pacing concerns — there is no impending court deadlines or hearings. This allows a couple to adapt according to their needs as they work through the process.

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