In the past several posts, we took a look at the 5 worst divorce mistakes you can make, as compiled by family law attorneys and marriage counselors across America. If you’re seeking a divorce, or the process has already begun, we hope these words of advice can help you avoid the pitfalls of the end of matrimony. Last time, we looked at Mistake #4: Hidden Money or Incomplete Disclosure. This is the fifth and final post in the series.
MISTAKE #5: HEAR MY PLEA!
There is a well-known saying in the legal profession that “criminal law attorneys see bad people acting their best, while family law attorneys see good people acting their worst.”
Family law attorneys say that many parties aren’t focused on what their life could be after the divorce, because they can’t see past their anger or sadness over the ending of their marriage. These people say things like “I just want my day in court” or “the judge should hear MY side of the story” or “the whole world should hear what HE or SHE did.” While the desire to be heard and express one’s feelings about the end of a marriage is understandable, the court is exactly the wrong forum for this type of closure. Therapists are much cheaper, and much more likely to provide you with emotional insight. Remember in an earlier post I wrote, “see a lawyer for legal advice; see a therapist for emotional advice?”
After the final gavel sounds, no matter how much of your story gets discussed in court, the court is still only going to decide which assets you get, and which assets your spouse gets. It’s not a contest to see who’s right and who’s wrong. As I mentioned before, divorce is best viewed as the breakup of a business partnership. A long and drawn-out divorce trial will guarantee that you pay your attorneys lots of money, but will not guarantee the best outcome. A judge hearing only admissible evidence over the course of a divorce trial can’t learn everything about your past, present and future goals – nor are they likely to want to. It’s more realistic that you and your spouse – working together – can divide your business partnership in a way that provides the best possible future for both of you, taking into account all of the information you both have shared about your lives and goals and that a judge will likely never hear. Collaboration before entering divorce court is a more successful strategy than trying to put revenge on the docket.
So, save your money, and rather then your “day in court”, figure out what you want the rest of your days to be like and make sure that you and your attorney are working towards those goals.