1. People & Relationships
Cathy Meyer

How to Keep Conflict Out of Your Divorce

By January 20, 2013

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I often work with divorcing couples who have found themselves in a highly emotional situation. A lot of the conflict these couples face is caused by adversarial attorneys who have taken away control they have over their divorce.

What is an already painful situation can be turned into a battle royal in the hands of the wrong attorney. A divorce attorney can be quite motivated to encourage conflict between couples during the divorce process. One motivating factor; the more conflict there is the longer it will take a couple to finalize their divorce. The longer it takes to finalize the divorce the more the divorce attorney will earn.

Anyone who goes through a divorce has a choice; they can allow a divorce attorney to determine whether or not the divorce becomes malignant with anger and conflict or they can pull the reigns in and hold their attorney accountable if things get out of control.

Remember, you hire a divorce attorney which makes you the person in charge of what happens during your divorce.

January 2, 2012 at 12:40 pm
(1) Jeff says:

I just finished a divorce, where my x wife’s attorney was adversarial. I could control my own attorney, how do you get your x to control theirs? This divorce took only about 8 months, but could have been done in 4 if my x and her adversarial attorney would have had their poop in a group.

January 3, 2012 at 8:49 am
(2) Jackie says:

If you go the mediation route, it can take much less time and the entire point of the process is to have less contentious wrangling http://www.weinbergerlawgroup.com/Mediation/Overview-of-Mediation.html As far as adversarial lawyers go, a good lawyer on your end will listen to you when you tell them that you want less hostility. As far as controlling the other side, your only choice is to stand your ground and not give in to bullying. Since mediation is much less expensive anyway, you have a better chance of waiting them out if you go this route. My 2 cents!

January 9, 2012 at 1:35 pm
(3) emmasgrandma says:

My ex, and he filed, has been chronically ill for years which includes serious brain injury. His lawyer even 6 months AFTER the divorce is adversarial. I was suppose to have deed signed over within 30 days. He signed it she held it “in escrow” as she claimed. She draqgged us into court in front of the judge she worked for just a few short years ago and you can tell by the decision the judge never read the paperwork. She told the ex not to pay me monthly while the QDRO is being prepared now leaving me with late charges. Our divorce should have been clean cut & dry. Kids are adults, house was in negative and what was left of an IRA, we were married almost 35 years. His lawyer allowed him to pay his lawyer bill from my half of the IRA leaving me with my bill to pay & less then half then IRA. Court said once he used it we could not get it back. The only reason 6 months after the divorce it appears I can get his lawyer to cooperate in enforcing the divorce is I am willing to drag them back to court Pro Se & will probably win. I have documented proof in writing of all I am saying. Yes, she was stupid enough to send emails which are legal documents. My lawyers hands were tied he tried. Because of HIPPA we could not present the medical documents to prove he had issues and between a meddling minister and this lawyer it made everything much worse. Only saving grace he is out of my life I am not longer responsible for him.

January 9, 2012 at 2:02 pm
(4) Michael Ann says:

I am trying to decide between mediation or just hiring my own attorney. My husband wants to do a cooperative divorce to save money, but I have heard from many of my divorced friends, that this is not the best for women in general. Women tend to accept less than they deserve as far as financially, all in the name of less conflict. I am worried about this as I do not have a job or a place to live. My husband’s parents own the house we rent so I have to move out. We also have 2 children so there will be custody issues. I don’t want this to get too nasty but I do want to stand up for myself against an ex that is not someone you want to oppose. :( Any advice?

January 9, 2012 at 3:52 pm
(5) Goldy55 says:

It can be difficult to decide if you need an Attorney or not especially when there are children involved and/or a spouse tends to always want their way. I recently ended a 2 yr. divorce nightmare where my high-end Attorney, knowing full well, I wanted a 50/50 divorce, husband of 33 yrs. was abusive & our children were grown & out of he house. My Attorney who came recommended by a friend of mine who is a Sr. Partner at a well known firm used my situation to his favour He dragged it out for 2 yrs. although it was cut & dried from the start. No matter what you do, make sure you put “everything & I mean everything” in writing retaining a copy for yourself. It is the only way if you figure out while going through this that you might be taken advantage of. Words have no meaning without written back-up. If there is something you want discussed w/your Attorney, put it in an email, keep a copy of it. If you are going to be discussing this situation by return phone call, then you should immediately send an email saying “this is my understanding of the recent phone discussion”. It’s the only way in order to make sure you don’t run into an unethical Attorney who might want to take advantage of someone who is “depressed” as a result of this situation…………..which is usually the case in most divorces. In my case, I believe the opposing Counsel was ethical, however, I was never privy to what was being discussed between them & neither will you! You also need to educate yourself about your state’s Divorce laws. Some things are cut & dried, unfortunately, not everthing even in 50/50 states are that way! Protect Yourself!

January 9, 2012 at 9:13 pm
(6) Linda Gryczan says:

Part of a mediator’s job is to balance the power. If you are concerned about your ability to negotiate for yourself, there are several options that may help. First, don’t sign anything until you have checked it out with a professional such as a CPA or an attorney. You can ask to bring a friend to mediation, a therapist, or an attorney to be an advocate and to help you think through decisions. Or you can ask to take a break during mediation to call someone to be a sounding board or a cheerleader.

I ask my clients to invest at least an hour with an attorney to check any agreement before they sign anything. Questions to ask are, What am I getting? What am I giving up? How does this agreement affect me now? What will it mean at retirement?

Your mediator should be able to offer a list of attorneys who will advocate for you, but not get in the way of a mediated agreement.

January 10, 2012 at 8:07 am
(7) Donna says:

What can I do. My attorney has dragged my divorce out for three years. Just one example of this is the time I gave them a $500 check to petition for the divorce master. Every time I ask about it they told me they were waiting for a response. My spouse finally file for the divorce master through his attorney. My lawyer had done nothing. My bill is around 33k and I’m still not divorce and nothing has gone to my favor. What do I do?

January 13, 2012 at 11:55 am
(8) Jeff says:

Your future ex wants to have cooperative divorce because he thinks it will be favorable for him. Women usually have the advantage in divorce process if you dont let husband manipulate you. You need to get a good attorney. Ask for alimony. Ask for child support of course.
Ask for at least 50% of assets you acquired in the marriage. Ask for primary physical custody of children. Dont settle with him but dont ask for ridiculous alimony that makes him unable to live. Child support calculators make that part fairly easy to figure out. Dont
negotiate with him, let your lawyer do it. That will disarm him a bit.
Let me know if I can help. I went through it.

May 9, 2012 at 7:03 pm
(9) Susan says:

Got an attorney, filed petition and decided attorney was not the one for me. Did not serve spouse and want to try to do this pro se. Since the attorney filed the petition , is he still the attorney? How do I get rid of him on the file and put my own?

January 17, 2013 at 10:53 pm
(10) pam says:

What do you do when your ex and his attorney have waged war on me. I have a good honest attorney. I only have a few more weeks to go I just do not know what else they are up to. He has taped everything. I feel like there are cameras in my house. They stalk my facebook. I had to deactivate it. I just do not know what else can they do. His attorney is out to ruin me. There is more but I am even scared to post it here. I am like a sitting duck waitting to fly and then wham.

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