Dr. Dena Churchill
We all know divorce can be extremely time-consuming, very expensive, and mentally and physically exhausting. But divorce can also be an amazing source of motivation, an initiator for growth and a transition to a place of greater awareness. And sometimes this transition has to be expedited with the aid of mediators or lawyers.
Transitioning with the help of a mediator is a less expensive alternative that can save time, money and exhaustive stress. Mediation is the path of least resistance in which you and your partner can sit with a neutral negotiator to develop a practical and mutually agreeable resolution for yourdivide. With a mediator, an agreement can be made and divorce papers drawn up and processed for under $100. Many states will require a lawyer to sign off on the papers though.
If no resolution is met through the mediation process, the next door to open is to the legal office. Here are a few recommendations:
Seek legal counsel early Understanding your legal rights and the laws brings clarity. Find a lawyer who is respected in the community. Not all attorneys have the same qualifications and mastery in family law. The goal in finding a lawyer is to secure the best possible legal advice, not to find someone who agrees with you. Shark teeth, computer brain, spine of steel, heart of gold and a dash of humor are useful traits in a lawyer.
Document everything You are paying your lawyer to manage your case, so listen to their advice and allow all correspondence to filter though their legal screen. Watch the contents of e-mails and avoid making off-the-emotional-cuff remarks because they could come back to bite you.
Use your lawyer as a resource Ask if they have any recommendations for family psychologists, court parenting classes, and mediation courses and literature. With a pending divorce, you'll soon realize many others have done this before you. Listen to all the advice and take what feels most appropriate for your situation. Remember your soon-to-be former spouse is also the person you fell in love with and married, and may also be the mother or father to your children with whom you will share a lifetime. This divorce is not an isolated event; it's a lifetime process. If there are children involved, see the process through their eyes to keep a broad perspective, so you can arrive in a place of greater awareness.
With this greater awareness comes the opportunity, if you choose to marry again, to enter this new relationship empowered, educated and prepared. If you do decide to reenter the life of matrimony, consider a prenuptial agreement. It won't necessarily save you from all the hassles of divorce, but it will give you time to view the maze of marriage from above. A prenuptial agreement will offer you an efficient way out if needed. Love is binding, but don't allow it to be blinding. Marriage is a business deal laced with emotion, so let it be thought out, signed and agreed upon while the two of you are still sleeping in the same bed.