Start Off on the Right Foot
- Understand that compromise will be a part of your divorce one way (the cheap way, by cooperating) or another (the expensive way, forced compromise by a judge).
- Being reasonable with your spouse puts you and your family in control of the cost of your divorce – not an attorney.
- Being reasonable makes it easier to work together which also speeds up the divorce process.
- Being reasonable allows you and your family to make decisions instead of a judge.
- The way you go about starting your divorce action can set the tone for the entire process. Start yours with communication.
- Do not embarrass your spouse and avoid surprising them with divorce documents.
- Do not serve your spouse with divorce documents at their place of work.
- Do not serve your spouse with documents in front of your children.
- Try to give your spouse advance notice as to when documents will be arriving and ask them where they would like to receive the documents.
Don’t Hide the Ball
Be Honest. Honesty creates trust and saves money!
- Provide your spouse access to all the information you have. Not only will this keep your divorce civil, it will also save you money by avoiding costly discovery.
- Hiding information or assets can have the effect of reopening your divorce and any agreements you have made to the scrutiny of a judge.
- Being honest about your finances will help you prepare financially for your new future. Sit down before beginning the divorce process to discuss finances so that you both know where you stand.
- As soon as you make the decision to divorce, start communicating with creditors. Dividing assets and debts can quickly become complex, but there are actions you can take in advance to create a smoother separation.
- Pull your free credit report.
- Close old accounts that have both names attached.
- Report your new marital status, name change and address to the credit bureaus as soon as possible.
- Close joint accounts whenever possible.
- Place a freeze on joint accounts that have a remaining balance.
Take the High Road
Don’t be Petty.
- Avoid posting anything regarding your divorce or your spouse on social media. Social media is often used as evidence in court.
- Do not make any posts involving a new love interest or dating until your divorce is complete.
- Do not make any posts involving “adult” activities that are easy to misinterpret such as excessive consumption of alcohol.
- Take actions that help you to move on in a healthy manner. Do not take actions for the purpose of hurting your spouse, this never works out the way people envision. It was Confucius who said, “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.” He was a pretty smart guy.
No Petty Parenting.
- Be consistent with the new way of life for you and your children.
- Do not work against your spouse, this will only create stress and animosity between your children, you and your spouse.
- Working against your spouse invites the courts into your life, taking your ability to make decisions for your family away. Petty custody issues cost people thousands of dollars just to be forced to cooperate with their ex anyway.
Look for Ways to Defuse the Situation
- Compromise is a bitter pill of divorce and either you can choose to compromise on your terms or be forced to compromise in whatever way the courts see fit.
- Start by discussing topics you know the two of you agree on.
- If conflict remains high between you and your spouse, you may choose to limit communications to those in writing.
- Email is a great way to organize your thoughts and keep track of all communications.
- Avoid text messages that can be sent hastily.
- Always keep communications neutral when children are present.