5 Small But Powerful Pieces of Advice For Anyone Going Through Divorce. From A Lawyer’s Perspective.
Going through a divorce is difficult for anyone, but with some hindsight you can avoid the pit falls and get through it in one piece. So read this if you’re going through—or just contemplating—a divorce.
Here, a real lawyer shares the most unexpected, yet most common, mistakes they’ve seen clients make. Rest assured, these 5 lessons can get you through the end of your marriage, both financially and emotionally.
#1. DON’T RELY ON ADVICE FROM YOUR DIVORCED FRIEND
EVERY CASE IS DIFFERENT and your divorced friend’s case may not apply to yours. A qualified divorce lawyer will help you avoid traps you could never know about on your own. Should you move to another apartment now? Might you lose your chance at custody of the children? Can you date? Should you take money out of your bank account? In short, are you at risk in any way? Your lawyer will be able to answer your questions and offer appropriate strategies.
#2. GATHER INFORMATION & KEEP A DIARY.
Detailed financial information will be invaluable to your lawyer, and will help them in providing you with clear advice, at an early stage in your case. It will also save you money if you provide copies of important and relevant documentation to your lawyer as it will save them having to obtain the information themselves or from the other party. Copy bank and financial records (tax returns, financial statements, loan agreements, bank statements, superannuation statements, share certificates etc.)
Also keep a diary of the circumstances of your relationship and separation, including dates and details of your living arrangements, key incidents and your employment histories. Remember, the more you can do for yourself, the less you will be paying your lawyer to do for you
#3. CHOOSE YOUR COUNSEL WISELY i.e. the RIGHT FAMILY LAWYER.
You will be relying on them to help you throughout a difficult period. You should therefore choose a lawyer who is a good fit for you, and who you feel you can work with, even during challenging phases of your separation. The type of lawyer you choose will have a big impact on the outcome you achieve.
Family law is a very specialised field –not only because of the law that applies – but because of the unique nature of the relationships. For example – if you are in conflict with your plumber, you can be as aggressive in litigation as you like – you never have to see that person again! This does not apply if you are in conflict with the other parent of your children. Your lawyer needs to understand the HIGH EMOTIONS that are at play in the matter.
#4. CONSIDER MEDIATION
There are alternatives to litigation that can save you time and money. You and your spouse can work together to come to an early resolution, should you Consider Mediation to settle your differences. Mediation means you can avoid having to go to Court.
One of the best forms of mediation is ‘Collaborative Practice’, which is far cheaper and much quicker than using lawyer negotiation. Collaborative Practice resolves your legal disputes without judges, magistrates or court personnel making decisions for you.
Choosing a litigator, as well as a mediation and negotiator, will increase the options they can offer for you and is therefore more likely you will end up using the best process for your matter.
#5. SEEK EMOTIONAL GUIDANCE
It is normal to be traumatised when you are going through a separation. Everyone is different and everyone processes their loss and grief differently.
Trained family and relationship counsellors can assist you to process your emotions and can also provide invaluable guidance in relation to dealing with not only your stress and anxiety, but also can guide you in how to deal with your ex-partner, and how to assist the children at this difficult time. Many couples get assistance from Family and relationship specialists to help them to learn how to tell the children about the separation, and to assist them to understand what is best for their children when crafting parenting arrangements.
# WRITTEN BY BEV CLARK
Belperio Clark Lawyers