The fear of divorce being difficult and expensive holds a lot of unhappy spouses from filing in the first place. But in reality, divorce doesn’t have to be a nightmarish process. If you take into consideration all of the couples you’ve known over the years to get a divorce, you can probably think of people who’ve had an ugly divorce and people who’ve had a successful one – somehow, they escaped the process happy, content and unscathed.
If you’re contemplating divorce, surely you want to fall into the group of people who had a successful divorce. The group who walked away thinking, “Now that wasn’t so bad. I’m fortunate to have fared so well!” But what does it take to make this possible? It all comes down to self-management and approaching your divorce like you would with any business negotiation.
Here’s how to handle your divorce like a business negotiation:
- Do your due diligence before entering negotiations. This means getting educated on your rights and responsibilities under California’s divorce and child custody (where applicable) laws.
- Treat your spouse and their attorney with dignity and respect before, during and after the divorce process.
- Keep your emotions out of negotiations. If you are emotional, it can cloud your judgement, leading to mistakes you’ll later regret.
- When your attorney asks for documents, be efficient, thorough and timely. Otherwise, you can experience unnecessary delays.
- Be completely honest with your attorney; don’t lie about assets or income. If your attorney doesn’t know something about you that they should know and they’re blindsided by the other side, it can be counterproductive.
- Go into your divorce with a positive attitude as opposed to an adversarial one. If you focus on reaching an amicable, beneficial settlement that you and your spouse agree to, it will help speed up negotiations.
- Ask your divorce attorney about how the system works in California. Have them fully explain the process of getting a divorce and what steps you’ll need to take to finalize it.
- Control the divorce process. Don’t let it control you.
- Be careful about what you post on social media and avoid posting anything about your divorce. If you’re not sure if a post would be approved by your attorney, don’t post it.
Don’t Go Into Divorce Blindly
Just think, if you were entering into a business contract, you would fully research the ins and outs of the transaction, the applicable state laws, as well as your rights and responsibilities under the law, now wouldn’t you?
You wouldn’t provide one signature without fully understanding what you’re getting into. Makes total sense but oddly enough, it’s not unusual for divorcing spouses to get a divorce with little understanding of their rights and responsibilities under the law.
With women for example, they may agree to an unfair settlement because they don’t realize that they’re entitled to 50 percent of the marital property in a divorce, even if the property is titled to their husband or if the income was earned by their husband alone. Or, they’ll let their husbands and their pitbull attorneys bully them into accepting far less than they’re entitled to under the law.
Men on the other hand, often get the raw end of the deal in regards to child custody. They’ll move out of the house, leaving the kids behind with their wives unaware that this step alone can seal their fate in regards to child custody (once a father moves out, it can be harder for him to get equal parenting time).
Or, thinking that nothing’s changed in child custody cases since the 1990s, they’ll automatically assume that the mother will become the custodial parent and they won’t even seek a shared custody arrangement. Our point here is, it’s surprising how many intelligent spouses go into divorce – blindly.
They’re so emotional that they fail to do their due diligence. They forget to educate themselves on the laws. Instead of approaching their divorce like a business negotiation with a clear head, they say and do irrational things or they just give in to whatever their spouse wants, meanwhile walking away with less than what they deserve.
Divorce is a Business Arrangement
We all know that marriage is an emotional affair. In fact, some of us are so blinded by “love or lust at first sight” that we let our emotions get in the way of selecting the “right” lifelong partner. Considering the amount of emotions that go into a marriage, it’s unrealistic to think that divorce wouldn’t be emotionally-charged as well. The trick is to acknowledge it for what it is (a highly emotional endeavor) but treat it like a business arrangement – something where you leave your emotions at the door.
The goal is to take the emotional aspects of the divorce and take them out. Then, look at the divorce for what it really is. Sure, it has different aspects, such as child support and custody, spousal support, and asset division, but it’s all about perspective.
It’s healthiest to look at it in a calculated, non-emotional way. Otherwise, it’s easy to let your emotions get the best of you and before you know it, feelings of frustration and anger are dominating you, leaving little energy to enjoy life.
What is the Ultimate Goal?
Ultimately, the end goal is to get on good terms with your ex, especially if you have kids together. Your children will love it and you will love it. In many cases, the reason why ex husbands and wives feel so much anger is because they feel they’ve lost control of their situation and it’s the kids who take the brunt of it. That usually happens when someone’s decisions have been fueled by emotions, rather than a calm, rational business approach.
If you’re getting a divorce, our advice is to hire a good attorney and make sure you fully understand the laws and your divorce agreement. Don’t leave anything to question. Ask your attorney questions and be advised of “what if situations.” If something scares you or makes you uncomfortable, don’t ignore it. Instead, learn about it so you’re the one in control of the situation.