Having consulted with hundreds of clients over the years, I have learned that there are many popular misconceptions about divorce. Acting on misinformation can result in long-term, unintended consequences for your family. I’ll address three such myths here:Myth #1: “Serving papers on my spouse will give me a strategic advantage.” Contrary to popular belief, the serving of divorce papers has a very limited effect upon the legal proceeding itself. Doing so can, however, have a profound impact upon the tone of the negotiations to follow. In the Collaborative divorce process, we always use a joint petition, which is signed by both parties and their attorneys at the first joint meeting. Starting the process in this way reflects the parties’ mutual respect for one another and allows them to maintain control over the pace and content of settlement discussions. Myth #2: “Our kids have no idea we’re going to divorce.” As adults we often underestimate the wisdom of children. Even very young children pick up on body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice. They notice how mom and dad talk (or don’t talk) to each other. They have friends at school whose parents are divorced. Working with a child specialist to create a “we statement” is a thoughtful way to jointly inform your kids that you have decided to become unmarried. But don’t be surprised if they already have suspicions. Myth #3: “The sooner the divorce can be final, the better.” While no one wants to linger in the throes of divorce longer than necessary, moving too quickly can be dangerous. It may take some time for one spouse to “catch up” emotionally in order to meaningfully participate in settlement discussions. Creating a parenting plan focused on the children’s needs often requires some trial and error. It’s impossible to know whether a particular schedule will work until you’ve lived it, at least for a while. Financial decisions made in divorce have long-term consequences for the entire family and should not be finalized until thoughtful evaluation of all options has taken place. The best way to get accurate information about divorce process options is to consult with an experienced family law attorney. Feel free to contact me if you’d like to know more.