- Choose your process wisely. Study your options and know what you and your spouse want. I ask divorcing clients what would need to happen in your divorce so you could look back three years from now and say this was a successful transition for your family and you. Paint that picture for me. Be honest with yourself.
- If you want a knock down drag out divorce, you know the Katie bar the door kind or I will show him/her, or I will make him/her pay, a more traditional litigation process certainly fits that bill. Moreover, that bill will be very expensive. On top of that, someone else, a judge, will be making decisions for you since you and your spouse are not able to reach agreements on your own. If you think, you are going to win and be the victor you have already lost because there are no winners in divorce. Most judges tend to think the best outcome if they have to decide your divorce is one when both spouses equally share the pain and both spouses are somewhat dissatisfied.
- You may consider mediation. Most people have heard about mediation. Mediation can be less expensive than a traditional court based process. Mediators however, are not able to provide legal advice. This is true even if the mediator is an attorney. Sometimes couples choose to have their own lawyers present at mediation sessions to overcome the no legal advice dilemma. Mediators, even if they are an attorney are not able to draft/prepare final divorce decree documents. If a mediator helps you reach agreements, you, and your spouse take those agreements to an attorney to draft the final documents and that attorney can only represent one of you, not both spouses. I always encourage my divorcing clients to each have their own attorney when reviewing any final documents resulting from mediation. You may run into one or both of the attorneys encouraging you not to accept the mediated agreements or parts of the agreements. In my practice, I recommend to clients attorneys that I know and have worked with, are settlement oriented, and not inclined to escalate conflict in an already mediated agreement. That is not to say there will not be some tweaks here and there because there always are and for good reason.