10 Tips For Surviving A Divorce
A pair of economics professors studied the relationship between expensive marriages and divorce rates.
Andrew Francis-Tan and Hugo Mialon discovered a connection between the cost of the marriage and the likelihood of a divorce.
This extended to an inverse correlation between the cost of the engagement ring and the duration of the marriage – especially if the ring costs more than $2k.
I have a sign – one of my smart ass signs – that reads: A good divorce lawyer is cheaper than a bad marriage. It’s true.
Here are some divorce tips from a lawyer who has been divorced twice and practiced in the area for years:
- Make sure the marriage is over before hiring an attorney. I get several cases a year where one party files and after discussing the dissolution with their soon-to-be-ex, they decide to dismiss the divorce petition and work on their marriage. Perhaps that is the wake up they needed, but it was an expensive one.
- Educate yourself. An attorney, counselor, pastor or any other adviser, will never care more about your life than you do. Talk to them, hit the internet and learn about the process – legally and emotionally. I’m talking to you – tough guy. You are going to grieve whether you think so or not.
- You need a plan. Where are you going to be after the divorce? How will the property be divided? Who will have primary custody of the kids and what will visitation look like? What steps do you need to take to ensure you get what you want?
- You and your spouse have problems. That’s why you are getting a divorce. Divorces get expensive when the one or both parties isn’t done fighting yet. This is the person you married. This is the person you had kids with. How are you going to co-parent your kids after your attorney just shredded your spouse on the stand? The uglier the divorce is – the harder it is going to be to deal with each other afterward.
- Love your kids more than you hate your spouse. Let’s not pretend that in most divorces the passion and love that brought you together has just gone away. It hasn’t. But it has turned dark, into distrust and loathing and hatred. As passionate as your love was, if you are not careful, that is as deep as your dark side is going to go to. But if you have kids, you have to set that aside. Your kids are going to love their mother. They are going to love their father. Just like you supported your friend – the one who moved in with the stripper. They got married and it has been 15 years. You have to support your kids and know that anything you say about their Mom or Dad is a knife to the heart of your relationship with them.
- Don’t call your lawyer every time your ex farts in the wind. Look, the reason you hired me is that I am not emotionally invested in your relationship. Don’t try to make me emotionally invested. Every time you call me the billing clock is running. I’m not a therapist. I’m a lawyer. I don’t help you work through your feelings, I collect evidence and rip people apart on the stand. I am a hired gun. That is the wrong person to expect to get all touchy-feely.
- Loss is a part of divorce. You are losing friends; you are losing money. You are losing a spouse. And you are going to grieve. Talk to a therapist if necessary. Talk to a financial planner. Talk to your accountant. Talk to your priest.
- Take steps to protect yourself as soon as you make the decision to start. Get a PO Box. Change the passwords on Facebook, email, everything. Change your privacy settings. Stay off of social media. Don’t discuss your relationship on social media. I can’t tell you how many cases are won and lost because of Facebook.
- Chill out – your ex is going to introduce a new fling to the kids soon enough. Don’t beat him up or claw her eyes out. Take pity – they are making the same mistake you did. Support the kids. And to steal from the song – Let it go; let it go. The more people that care about your kids the better.
- Don’t say: I just want it done. Happens several times a year, I have to have a come to Jesus talk with a client who just wants their divorce done and is willing to give up everything to do it. Yeah, it doesn’t matter when there may only be $5-10k in assets. But when we are talking about tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars, fight for what is yours.