At the onset of the divorce process, few can foresee how long and drawn out the process can be. Once lawyers become involved, the battle becomes fiercer, each lawyer drawing hypothetical swords to win the most for his or her client.
This past year, many couples have been increasingly stressed during lockdowns, triggering a rise in divorce filings once businesses opened back up. But, with many out of work or unable to earn an income while taking care of small children, they’ve had little choice but to stay together during a period of captivity. With no outlet to socialize, couples who were managing by working and socializing outside the household had only their phones and laptops to turn to. Couples with difficulties had their conflicts exacerbated by the inability to create physical distance and enjoy everyday things in life.
As trying as those times might have been, hostile divorce tends to bring out the worst in a person. Add the rocky battlefield of divorce litigation and you have a recipe for 24/7 stress.
How can you mitigate some of that divorce stress?
For one, choosing a divorce litigation attorney who is willing to help you peacefully achieve your goals for an agreement is a big first step. Is that possible? Well, yes, it is when you are your partner are one speaking terms and able to civilly discuss terms for divorce.
But, peace can only be maintained if both parties are committed to it. If your partner hires a shark who is committed to robbing you of every asset and preventing child visitation, mediation is no longer a consideration. Hostility, verbal and physical, are indications that negotiating isn’t possible.
Although each party would have his or her own attorney, mediation begins with both parties meeting together with a mediator for sessions to review what they can and cannot agree on, working through the conflicts until an agreement can be drawn up.
The two most difficult points to sort out are money and children. Both tend to be used as weapons against the other party. When one person owns a business, it’s easier to hide money and if the situation is hostile, you may need to bring in a forensic accountant to perform a valuation of the business.
If you are the one initiating the divorce action, compiling as much information ahead of time will make compiling that information easier. Both sides normally share in the costs of outstanding credit card bills and loans and the division of assets is determined after their consideration.
Mediation is proactive in keeping the peace for the children. Although mostly unintentional, kids tend to get caught up in the spiteful behavior between their parents. The faster the process goes, naturally, the easier divorce will be on your children.
If mediation is feasible for you, it’s the preferred, and less expensive, way to resolve your differences. Yet, even if you go to litigation, ultimately, you can decide to be civil to prevent retaliative behavior from your partner.