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Steps to an Easier Divorce
Feb 18, 2014

 

Emotions are high in a divorce. The emotional trauma experienced during a divorce is similar to the grief experienced due to a death of a loved one. The difference, however, is your spouse is still living. It is so easy to express your denial, anger, depression, and bargaining through the divorce process. It is difficult to disassociate yourself from the emotional aspect of the hurt and loss from the process. The courts, however, do not take your feelings into consideration and will judge you and your spouse by the way you both decide to approach the divorce. The goal is for an equitable division of property and to determine parenting time that is in the best interest of the child.

The divorce process can be fairly simple saving you money, or it can suck you dry depending on your attitude and how you approach the divorce. This is why setting your emotions aside can make or break the bank. No matter what your situation (i.e. stay at home mom, breadwinner, dual-income household) during and after a divorce you will not financially be in the same position as you were prior to the divorce. If children are involved, you will now have to share time with your children with your spouse. In other words, typically, there are no winners in a divorce. Both parties lose something.

Divorces are costly. They become more costly when you ask your attorney to become the battering ram for your emotions. If you can step back, and keep your emotions to a minimum, the more money will remain in your pockets instead of going to your attorney.

The following can help improve your chances for a less costly divorce:

  1. Make it a goal to try to resolve the divorce as soon as possible. As long as one spouse wants the divorce, you will get divorced. Realize it is like taking off a band aid, you can either rip it off or allow it to control you for years. If you are initiating the divorce action, know that you want the divorce before filing. There is nothing worse than filing for a divorce and then speaking with your spouse and changing your mind in the process. If you think that your marriage can be saved or resolved, take every action that you can before filing for a divorce. If you are on the receiving end of a divorce, you have not had the same time to process your emotions like your spouse. Just know that your spouse wants a divorce, and that they have spent many hours agonizing over whether they want to remain in the marriage, and for whatever reason, they have decided that there is no going back, and you will get divorced. Speak with an attorney as soon as you receive the paperwork. You have a very limited window for a response, if you do not respond, you could be setting yourself up for a default divorce in your spouse’s favor.

  2. Try to remain friendly with your spouse. As the saying goes, “you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” There will be arguments, you are hurt, grieving and in pain, but the more you push yourself to be nice with your spouse even when they are being ugly, the more likely you will be to get it resolved. This could be as simple as:
    1. Switching visitation to accommodate your spouse when you can;
    2. Being friendly to your spouse when speaking to them;
    3.   Emphasizing the good attributes about your spouse to your children;
    4. Taking the high road (especially if your spouse does something petty or mean to evoke a response); or even
    5. Apologizing to your spouse when you do something wrong.

  3. If possible, figure out a way to divide the property with your spouse. As an example, set up a system where you both can agree to put stickers on the property that you want. Agree that if you both want a certain item to discuss it with your attorney. Do not use this as a tool to get at your spouse. If you have never shown an interest in guns and all of a sudden you cannot live without the antique gun that was passed down to your spouse by his or her parent, then you are using this as a tool to get back at them. If it is the distribution of monetary value that is bothering you, then speak with your attorney, and maybe there will be a way to work out the values of property distribution.

  4. Along the same note as above, try to figure out a way to establish a visitation schedule with your children that works for both you and your spouse. If you have children, they will want to see you and your spouse as much as possible. This is a difficult time, not only for you and your spouse, but your children are feeling that they will lose a parent also.

  5. Do not be a push over. Letting your spouse take everything while you are just given the opportunity to walk away will only build bitterness. You both built this life together. Do not lose it all by wanting to just get it done.

  6. Do not be verbally or physically abusive. The quickest way to losing everything is by losing your mind. Do not bully your spouse. If you are on the receiving end of the abuse, be sure to contact your attorney as soon as possible. Save texts, e-mails, messages left on the answering machine, and take notes of everything that is said or actions that have been taken. If there is physical evidence, have someone take pictures of the evidence. Stay calm and speak to your attorney. If you have suffered physical abuse from your spouse contact the police immediately. There may be some programs available to you through the state if you are suffering from physical abuse by your spouse.

  7. Stay positive. Change is a good thing, even though it doesn’t feel like it now. Realize that the more that you see the divorce as to your benefit, the quicker you will be to forgive and move on. You will now have more time to focus on yourself and what you would like to do instead of always checking with the spouse to see if it conflicts with his or her plans. Some ways assist you with putting a positive twist on the divorce is:
    1. Exercise more. Exercise creates endorphins which work as good as taking medications for depression. You are in Central Oregon, there are so many activities available that cost little to nothing. Go out and enjoy it for what it is!
    2. Spend more time with family and friends. You have more time to spend with the people in your life that you may have wanted to spend more time with. They will be there for you. They can also help you get through the grieving process quicker. They know who and how wonderful you are. They are a good resource to seek during the divorce process.
    3. Seek counseling. Sometimes having a disinterested person who you can rant to about your feelings knowing that it is confidential can help tremendously. They will also be able to send you to someone who can prescribe medications or prescribe medications themselves if they think it is necessary to help you get back on your feet.

Finally, realize this is your divorce. You know your spouse, finances, and children better than anyone else. You and your spouse have control as to how long or short you want the divorce to be. You are the ones who have the most control as to how the process goes. Your attorney is there to counsel you on the legal aspects of the divorce, and hopefully guide you toward the best resolution possible.





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