Ed Sherman, divorce specialist attorney and author of
Make Any Divorce Better, has helped more than a million readers get better divorces. With more than 30 years experience and over one million books sold, Ed Sherman is the divorce expert. Here are some tips from Ed that will help you make your divorce better:
Don't rush into divorce while feeling desperate, angry, or emotionally pressured. You have many important decisions to make and they should be made calmly and clearly.
It's OK to use an attorney, but don't retain one to take over your case. You should stay in control of your divorce and your life. Because lawyers are trained in an adversarial method of practicing law, if you let them take control, conflict is bound to escalate, making things worse.
Take an active role in your divorce: educate yourself about the procedures, become informed about the rules, and make your own decisions. The more involved you become, the better the outcome.
Keep it simple! If one spouse gets an attorney, the other one might too. Two attorneys start off costing just double, but soon they are writing letters, filing motions and creating conflict, which means escalating costs. Do as much as you can yourself and save on legal fees so you can send your own child to college--not some lawyer's.
Remember that fighting will not prevent a divorce, it will only make it more unpleasant and much more expensive. Use proven techniques to calm yourself and settle things down so you can more easily and painlessly reach the agreements that you ultimately are going to make anyway.
Realize that most divorce problems are not legal problems, but rather are emotional and personal problems. Neither the law nor attorneys have solutions for these types of problems. Trying to use legal tools on personal problems only makes things worse--not better.
Understand that fighting parents frighten children--ask yourself if your anger justifies the hurt to your child. Children learn from what you do, not what you say. By working to settle your differences and come to agreement, you teach your children that problems can be solved.
Consider that the real divorce is free. It's about ending one life and beginning another, then making it work--spiritually, emotionally and practically. Successfully meeting the emotional, physical and practical challenges is hard work, but it will lead to a better divorce and be well worth it.
Start things off as nicely as possible, unless your spouse is an abuser/controller. An abrupt start to your divorce will probably increase conflict, and an upset spouse is more likely to run to an attorney who will make your case more complicated.
Let your spouse know you are committed to working out a settlement you can both agree to and live with. Unless you are under time pressure, don't formally start the divorce until your spouse is ready.