You go through enough just making the decision to get divorced. By the time you get there, the last thing you need is another huge fight. And a fight that could last for a year or more? No, thank you. The good news is that there is no part of getting divorced that actually requires you to fight. Even if efforts to mediate have failed, you can still get divorced quickly, quietly, and calmly. Many people can even do it in a way that lets them stay on cordial terms with their ex after it’s over. So, what’s the secret to getting divorced without a fight?
It can all be summed up into 3 simple steps, which come together to form a great mantra:
Be prepared, stay focused, and check yourself.
Step 1: Be Prepared
Divorce is a legal proceeding. Divorce, in its nature, is not designed to be emotional, spiritual, or anything other than one contract trumping an older contract. You made a contract when you got married. Now, you are making a new contract to get divorced. This new contract will address everything that was touched by your marriage contract – kids, money, and property.
To be prepared for divorce, do the following things:
- Kids. Know your kids schedules, their needs, and any special considerations that are crucial to their wellbeing. Have these written out, and even have some ideas to keep those needs met when the household splits into two.
- Money. Know where your money is, how much is where, and how it all works. You should know how to trace any significant amounts of money that you brought into the marriage and all the money that has come in since you got married. Understand how your different accounts work, how to access them, and exactly how they are titled.
- Property. Gather all the deeds, titles, and other important documents for your assets. This includes real property (house, land, etc.) and personal property (automobiles, jewelry, etc.). If you have appraisals for any of the property then make sure you get all that together, too.
Being prepared is largely about knowing what’s going on and having all the paperwork together to prove it. This step is the one that saves my clients the most time and mental energy.
Step 2: Stay Focused
When you decide to get divorced, you should have clear goals. That is the first thing I work on with every single one of my clients. Going into a divorce without a goal is like setting out on a roadtrip without a destination. You need to know what you want out of this whole experience.
Once you know your goals, stay focused on them. The divorce process will make flips and turns along the way. You and your current spouse will butt heads because you value different things. Your job is to stay focused on what you want to achieve and let your team help you get there. People who stay focused on their goals are much more likely to settle a case out of court and avoid the fight that happens at trial.
Step 3: Check Yourself
There is one thing that causes more doubt, pain, and grief for my clients than anything else: losing control of your feelings.
The moment you lose sight of your goals and let your emotions take over, you will quickly find yourself lost in the hustle of family court. It is important that you check yourself regularly. Whatever you need to do to make important decisions in a calm and rational manner, do it. For example, I have some clients who need to think for at least 24 hours before making important decisions. This allows their emotional reaction to come out before they think through a situation logically. You want the logic to control how your case proceeds.
How you check yourself is up to you. Some people need friends they can talk to and bounce ideas off of. Others need a therapist who can help them process those deep emotions. Others still need quiet time to work through it on their own. Whatever it is you need, have those systems established and in place before you start. It will serve you well.
If you need help preparing for a divorce, you can book a Divorce Prep coaching session with an experienced Missouri family law attorney.