DIVORCE WITHOUT A WAR
Dissolving your marriage can be a significant life change that can leave you broke, bitter and disenfranchised from the important people in your life. But the Kramer v. Kramer dogfight scenario isn’t the only way to go. If avoidable, it’s not even a particularly good way to go.
If you’ve made the decision to end your marriage, it’s time to consider your quality of life prospects post-decree. Simply ramming an adverse court order down the throat of your spouse can end up being a life choice you’ll regret for the rest of your days. But if you want to spend your life savings on litigation costs and alienate your spouse, your children, parents, siblings and extended family – that’s up to you.
There’s often a high road to take. I recommend first arranging for each party to consult an attorney. Some attorneys will offer free initial appointments. Just get an idea of each spouse’s rights and identify sources of conflict and other problems that could arise down the road. Plan to meet with your spouse and to listen more intently than you ever have before. At some point, you got along well enough to get married, maybe have kids, buy a house and forge a life plan. Now’s the time to garner whatever domestic good will you’ve got left and put it to good use.
In any divorce discussion, the spouses need to realize that nobody gets everything they want and peaceful settlement requires compromise, even if it hurts. If you arrive at an agreement both parties can live with, a proposed divorce decree can be drafted. I couldn’t more strenuously urge you to bring one or two attorneys on board for this, as failure to properly prepared your stipulated divorce decree can result in problems that can’t be fixed or very expensive post-decree litigation – the very type of thing you were hoping to avoid. In many cases, stipulated divorces can be done without a hearing.