I’m sure you have heard horror stories about people you know who were involved in an ugly divorce.
Some people lose everything during the divorce process because they lose sight of the big picture and their animosity toward their spouse takes over and consumes them, leading to decision making that ends up costing them dearly.
A contested divorce can last for years and cost tens of thousands of dollars if attorneys are involved. It happens. If you don’t have an attorney and are representing yourself, divorce can still be expensive plus it adds extra layers of stress that take a toll on you.
Remember when you got married? Remember planning the wedding and all that?
If I had to guess, I bet you and your soon-to-be-ex got into one or two squabbles during the wedding planning. Maybe the argument was over registry gifts, or was it the guest list? It was something, right?
Remember those days?
Well, going through a contested divorce is 20 times worse than the wedding planning arguments. And, a divorce is often more expensive. These are things you should be thinking about if you are planning on getting divorced.
There is a difference between not liking your soon-to-be-ex and having an amicable divorce. What I mean is, just because you have one doesn’t mean you can’t have the other. This is one of the few times where you can have your cake and eat it too. Let me explain.
Here are some things you can do so you don’t lose everything in your divorce if you don’t have an attorney:
1. Monitor Your Emotional Temperature
This may be the thing people overlook the most when they get divorced. But, I would argue that this is the most important factor. Divorces last years and become expensive when the parties lose track of their emotions. When people act based on emotion, they are not acting based in reason and that typically doesn’t turn out well. Understand what pushes your buttons and work not to react when your spouse pushes them… and he/she will push them.
2. Don’t Play in the Mud
I shouldn’t have to say this, but I do anyway. When you’re in a contested divorce, you can quickly find yourself in the mud box with your spouse and the attorneys if there are any. I don’t recommend playing here. For one, it never helps your case. You can only control what you do. You can’t control what your spouse does. If he/she likes to play in the mud, don’t join them, even though it can be tempting.
What does that mean?
That means, don’t send offensive texts, emails, or voice mails. That means not doing anything that can be used against you in court. If you have to ask if it’s okay to do something, then just don’t do it.
3. Be Prepared… For Anything
Going through a divorce is like going on a roller coaster. You will have your share of ups and downs. So, strap yourself in for the ride. No two divorces are the same. Why? Because each case is fact sensitive to the particular facts of your life and your assets. The process of getting a divorce is static and predictable, but what happens along the way is not. There might be motions filed for any number of reasons. You need to be prepared for whatever happens and have a plan to deal with it.
4. Have a Reason for Everything You Do
This coincides with number three. Be purposeful in your actions. Have a reason for everything you do during the divorce. If you want to file a motion for some type of relief with the court, file it at the right time and with the right evidence so you have a good chance at getting what you are asking for. Otherwise, wait to file the motion until you are prepared.
5. Look to the Future, Don’t Live in the Past
It’s hard to keep your eye on the prize (finishing your divorce) when you’re in the middle of it. It’s easy to get caught rehashing the past and arguing over everything with your soon-to-be-ex. Try not to do it. A better and happier future is ahead of you. Focus on what’s in front of you and not what was. You can control your future, you can’t change the past.