“He left with no notice. I had no idea he even wanted a divorce but I will be fine. I’ve hired a divorce attorney, one with vast experience in family law and I know he will take care of me and my legal rights.”
I recently heard these words from a therapy client I’m working with. She has an attorney and, in her mind, she will be “fine.” It’s a thought process shared by many going through the divorce process. It is also the first mistake most couples going through a divorce make.
Giving over control of their welfare to someone who isn’t an expert in them and their needs.
Divorce attorneys are experts in family law. They are not experts in finance, real estate, taxes, insurance, disabilities and any other issue that may be particular to your case. They are not experts trained in how to handle the personal needs of every divorcing client they contract with.
Every divorce has its own particular issues and if you, the client isn’t in the driver’s seat your future may wind up in the ditch.
In your everyday life, how often do you give over control of how your day goes to someone else? You don’t do it in everyday life, and you shouldn’t do it during divorce. To do so will mean negative consequences for you, your spouse and your children.
The LAST thing you want is a divorce attorney and Family Court judge deciding how you will live your life once the ink dries on the divorce decree.
Taking Control Of Your Divorce
Why People Give Up Control:
It’s a story I hear often. Someone has been left due to infidelity or, one or the other spouse drop the divorce bomb unexpectedly. People become angry, afraid and out to exact revenge and lose the ability to act in their own best interest.
They hire a divorce attorney; one they believe will be sympathetic to what they are experiencing and they wait for their “day in court.” In other words, most people give up control to an attorney because they are under the assumption that fairness wins out in Family Court.
If a divorce case goes to court a judge will make decisions on legally relevant facts of the case and not on what is important to you, the litigant, or what you think is right and wrong.
How To Stay In The Driver’s Seat:
1. Hire an attorney to advise you on the legal aspect of your case. Negotiate with your spouse on personal and financial issues that will affect you both post-divorce. As adults, you can drive the process and together decide what direction you go in with issues such as splitting marital assets, child custody and visitation and spousal support. It is possible to negotiate a fair divorce settlement without interference from your attorney or a Family Court judge.
2. If your attorney advises you on an issue you don’t have to take their advice. If your attorney suggests you accept a settlement offer that you don’t believe is in your best interest you have the right to explore other options. It isn’t uncommon for divorce attorneys to make mistakes or, encourage a client to accept a settlement that is not fair in an attempt to get the case off their desk. A divorce attorney is someone you consult with, they are not someone you have to allow to make decisions for you.
3. Seek outside help if you feel your attorney is in over their head. For example, if you and your spouse own a business you may want to hire a forensic accountant to advise you on how that marital asset should be split. There are many issues during divorce that may require input from an outside resource. Don’t be afraid to seek help if you aren’t sure and don’t be intimidated by an attorney who tries to limit your attempts to protect yourself.
4. Check your emotions! If you allow anger or hurt feelings to guide how you react to divorce you won’t make productive decisions. In other words, emotionally charged people rarely stay in the driver’s seat during divorce.
Take the high road, don’t allow your emotions to cause you to do anything that will one day reflect negatively upon you or have detrimental effects on your financial future.