To have a better divorce, you need to take some time to read, think about and act on the advice below, and the specific steps you can take. No matter what your situation, if you follow my advice, things will soon get better.
As a family law attorney for over 35 years, I can tell you that unless you face a serious emergency like those in my online "emergencies" article, then:
- The worst thing you can do is run to an attorney before you are more informed.
- Divorce problems are almost never legal, they are almost always personal.
- There are no—zero, not any—solutions for personal problems in law, in court, or in a lawyer’s office. To the contrary, taking divorce problems into the legal system will almost certainly make things much worse.
- At least 90% of all divorces can be done better with little or no attorney involvement.
- After you take the steps I recommend, if you still have trouble working out terms with your Ex, you don’t need an attorney, you need a mediator.
Things You Can Do For Yourself:
The things you can do for yourself are far superior to anything an attorney can do for you. Court is not good for you, your child, your health or your bank account. If you and your ex can reach an agreement about how to deal with your assets, debts, and support (if relevant), then you don’t need to battle in court, and you can save yourself a lot of time, trouble and money.
Find a way to make yourself safe and secure for at least a few weeks, maybe a few months. You need time to let things settle down, get centered in a new direction, let your spouse and children adjust to changes, and you also need some time to take some important early steps, noted in my online Pre-divorce Checklist.
Protect Your Children And Money:
What’s the hurry—children? money? Apart from needing to get on with your life, or make a bold declaration of independence, the most common and deeply felt sources of urgency are about children and money.
You might be worried about how the bills will get paid, or when you will get to see your children. It will be hard to find peace and work out terms for anything unless you can make some arrangements, at least temporary ones, about children and money.
Here are some things to think about regarding money in the early stages of divorce. If your spouse depends on you to pay the bills and you don’t give some reassurance that you’ll help, your spouse will be forced to get an attorney and file for a support order. Then your life gets dragged into court, lawyer wars, conflict and huge expense.
You really don't want that. It's no solution when the lawyers end up with all of your money and you still owe them for fees.
It is much better if you promise to help with the bills until you’ve both had some time to think, adjust, discuss the terms of your separation. Be very reassuring. Ask your spouse to work with you on these steps. Offer to make a temporary agreement in writing that will reassure both of you about money and parenting, just for the short term.