1. Divorce is an additional job.
Divorce can be like working a full-time job. It’s shocking how much of your time can be taken by divorce proceedings. I’m not just speaking about filing divorce papers and court time, but just getting to that point. There is a great deal of time before you even get to the point of looking for an attorney or doing your divorce without an attorney. You will need to spend time to make sure you have taken a full inventory of your assets and debt; forgetting things will be a costly mistake later. That doesn’t include the time spent talking with your soon to be ex-husband.
2. Trust in yourself.
We all have intuition — trust it. You know what you need and what is best for you (and your children). Listening and trusting yourself in this situation is the way to go. Nobody has your best interest at heart more than you. You will have a lot of people telling you what they think is best for you or what their experience was, but no two situations are the same. You know if this is going to be easy or a long fight.
3. You know the person you’re divorcing.
You know him, probably better than he knows himself. That’s an advantage for you. Even if it isn’t his fault, most men feel a sense of guilt about a failed marriage. You can use this to your advantage. You know the things he’s going to be reasonable about and the things that are going to be difficult to agree on. You know if he’s being honest about money, debt and other assets or if he’s trying to hide things, at least in most cases. If he’s been completely deceitful, it doesn’t take much effort to find hidden assets. Be careful where you pick your fights.
4. Family court is about the law, not what is fair.
Sadly, the court is about the law; it seems to not care about what’s fair. Fortunately, the law in most states has changed to be supportive of women. Accept the situations where the law is in your favor, even if it seems unfair. There will be other situations where the law will work against you and seem, so don’t be afraid to take advantage of it where you can. One place where the law will be in your favor is housing. Make sure the court grants you sole possession of your house or apartment. You don’t want to be the one moving out during all of this. The court will usually rule in your favor on this issue. If the court awards you something that seems unfair, don’t give it away. So, if you get awarded half of his retirement, don’t give it back in writing. You don’t have to take it, but, if the court gives it to you, don’t let an attorney convince you to decline it.
5. Consider using an online divorce service.
Many divorces are simple. You know your situation. If you’ve just reached the point where you don’t want to be married to each other and can agree on everything, or almost anything, consider one a reputable online service to handle your divorce. Sometimes divorces can be handled without an attorney. At the time you’re considering a divorce, do you want to commit several thousands of dollars to a lawyer’s retainer? At this point, there are so many financial considerations on your plate; a large retainer might not be the best use of your money when there are basics like rent and food to take into account.
6. He’s going to be their father for the rest of their lives.
No matter how awful he’s been as a husband, he is always going to be the father of your children. Everyone deserves to think their dad is a good man. We later learn that our fathers are flawed people like everyone else, but it’s better for your kids to learn that on their own. Don’t spend time and effort to tell your children about all the mistakes he made as a husband. Being a bad husband and being a good father is possible. Some men become better fathers only after they are out of a bad marriage. Yes, he might be a completely horrible person, but let your children figure that out for themselves. They will see it if it is the case.
7. Be careful whose advice you take.
Everyone is going to want to share their advice and stories of divorce. You will hear about people’s experiences, everything from how simple and cooperative it was to complete hell. Don’t let one person’s experience change your belief of how things are really. We all know that a person whose life was turned upside down because of their divorce. Remember my advice in number two: trust your intuition. Don’t let the stories or opinions of family and friends turn a simple situation into something much more complicated.
8. When he’s acting agreeable, take advantage of it.
There will be moments when you will be able to work together to make good decisions for both of your futures. Take advantage of that time. It will save you money in lawyers’ fees. The more you resolve on your own, the less it will cost in the long run. Remember he might have a lot of guilty feelings about the marriage failing, even if it wasn’t his fault alone, use that to your benefit.
9. Lawyers can make things hostile and cost you more money.
Honestly, lawyers make money based on how much time they spend on your divorce. They aren’t always interested in harmony. There isn’t any advantage to them for a quick, easily settled divorce. They aren’t concerned about the expense or your financial situation. They are used to using the courts, court documents, and language to instigate the other person. Sometimes that can lead to a longer, more hostile divorce. If you have a workable settlement that you agreed to with the other person, a lawyer may be a costly mistake.
10. No matter how bad it seems, it will get better.
It’s a difficult time, that goes without saying; but this is just the situation now. The goal of a divorce is to get out of your current situation and onto a better stage in life. Whether it was originally your idea to get divorced or not, nobody wants to be with a partner that doesn’t respect or want to be with them. This phase will end and it will get better. When it’s done you will be able to start a new chapter in your life, superior to the one before. There is much more life ahead of you, so hold onto that knowledge, keep it close, and let it be a comfort to you, now, when you need it most.