Over the last few years I have helped a lot of people with their divorces. When I ask my clients what frustrates them most in a divorce procedure, I always get the same answer. "You never know when it Starts, when it Ends and what it Costs." I call it the 'SEC-uncertainty,' which has a big influence on any divorce procedure, mostly making the divorce long and dragged out -- both things we want to avoid.
So you may ask: "How can we effectively influence this 'SEC-uncertainty'?
Having seen many clients, and having sat at many a divorce table, I came up with five ways to support you and your partner in a divorce to make it less painful, less trying and more cost-effective.
1. Start when you're in a positive mind set and then act fast! It may sound crazy, but often after the shocking 'divorce announcement,' there can come a time where you both can look at things from a more positive perspective. I'm talking about that moment were husband and wife look at each other, knowing there is no other option but to divorce, and they both agree on keeping their divorce procedure as positive and friendly as possible. For the sake of the children, family, friends or whatever the reason may be. When you reach this moment, act fast! This means for example that you don't want waste your precious time and positive mindset to trivial details or uncontrollable aspect which can take years and years to settle. I experienced spouses spending $15,000 on litigation fees for a garden chair and they expected me to take them seriously. In other words, move on to point two right away:
2. Do your homework and make a plan! This means you need to take an active role in the process and be well prepared before you visit your lawyer or mediator for the first time. This also means you need to be clear on major issues that need to be addressed. This will save you time and money. Impress your lawyer and other professionals by presenting a timeline which will lead you through the whole divorce procedure. Ask your professionals to commit to your planning and convince them of the fact that you don't want to start a 'never-ending story.' Make sure your administration is complete and well organized, especially if you own a business that is part of the negotiations, this also will be a major cost saver. Think in detail on how you would want to divide any property, because there are a lot of tips and tricks here. For example, one spouse can divide the property in two parts, and then the other spouse can choose which part he would like. This brings me to my next point:
3. Don't involve too many family members and friends. It may sound illogical, and even counter intuitive, but your family, best friends and/or colleague, really shouldn't be your first choice of a counselor. Of course a divorce is an emotional time and it definitely feels safe and familiar to rely on your mother or best friend, but know that they will have strong opinions and most likely will always take your side. Wasn't it your mother who said you were the best singer, athlete, or student when you were young? Maybe she was right but people who are not impartial could pose a risk in allowing your divorce to potentially escalate and drag on longer. I recommend reducing the number of people involved to a minimum. You started this marriage together and if you are able to end it together, you will be surprised by the positive effects, short-term and long-term!
4. Do research on the professionals you work with. If you owned a company, would you hire the first person off the street for the simple reason that he lives close by? It is very important you know what kind of lawyer or other professional you hire, who can guide you quickly, smoothly and efficiently through this whole process. If I ask couples what kind of lawyer they would choose if their relationship would end in divorce, everybody prefers to have a lawyer who can be classified as a 'street-fighter,' but why? Do you realize that street fighters can end up being very expensive in the end? They may have a fighter's mentality to begin with, but perhaps also an ego to match it. So think smart, do research on the people you involve in your divorce and control the process by using my tips! Now last, but not least:
5. Respect the past but focus on your new future! If you decide to divorce, don't make the typical mistake to talk hours and hours about your ex, and thus the past. Yes, you need time to digest, but continue the process and try to focus on your new future. Once I started a divorce procedure and both spouses didn't stop complaining about each other. After two hours I gave them both a mirror and asked them what they saw. Again, I got long extensive answers and new stories. Then I stopped the session by explaining to them that they actually just saw the most important person in their new near future: themselves! So focus on yourself and your new future and do all you can to make it happen. And be sure wish each other good luck too! Then open the new doors that are in front of you and start being happy again, the sun does keep shining, and on you too!