I promise I’m not crazy, but please believe me when I say that, if you have decided to divorce, the LAST thing you should do is run out and hire a lawyer. (No offense to my lawyer friends!) You also should not file paperwork at the courthouse or do anything that is going to escalate the stress, tension, anger, and resentment in an already stressful and sad situation.
Are you thinking– “without a lawyer, what the heck am I supposed to do?” I have been a divorce attorney and mediator for 25 years, and have discovered exactly how to get families through the divorce process without causing emotional and financial trauma. The couples that I have worked with to help them transition through their divorce the best, all focused on three common essentials!
The first key to any calm, efficient, divorce is education. Education allows you to make informed decisions and stay in control of your life. Once a couple is educated on what is involved in a divorce and confident that they are not missing anything, they can figure it out on their own. They don’t need lawyers speaking for them and pigeon-holing them into a “this is what has to happen” mentality.
Part of educating yourself is understanding the traditional divorce system and how that process works (with lawyers) and then understand the alternative paths (without lawyers) so you can make the right decision for YOU! Couples that educated themselves are no longer stuck because they don't have to make decisions in a vacuum. Knowledge is truly power!
The second key essential in any divorce is understanding the importance of creativity! If you are making creative decisions and staying out of the system you can agree to anything that works for your family (you’ll just want to make sure that it’s all written down correctly). Although the divorce system treats every divorce the exact same way, no two couples that I have ever come across are the same. So it makes sense that divorces should be customized by the couple involved!
Need to delay a refinance because of the interest rates, you can do that. Need to keep an asset in joint names because you both want a piece of future value, you can do that too. Need to stay business partners because you have built a small business together, no problem.
The bottom line is that you can do anything you can imagine you don’t subject yourself to the system. Lawyers and courts make it impossible to do any of these scenarios without spending tons of money and years of your life. The system isn’t flexible. The goal of lawyers and courts is to dismantle your life, not transform it. I encourage all of the couples I have worked with to be creative and imagine an ideal future for them as if the possibilities were endless.
The last key to a calm and efficient divorce is guidance. Most couples need someone to walk them through the steps and help manage the inevitable emotional rollercoaster that comes with divorce (totally normal, by the way). The right guidance will keep you on track when you are sad, or feel like you can never talk to your spouse, or when you start to wonder if it will ever be over.
As a divorce mediator, I have taken my decades of experience along with the lessons learned from my own divorce, and built a successful program that guides families through a transition process that averages about six months. In the end, my clients sign an agreement that includes creative decisions about assets, support, and custody, and are able to finalize their divorce.
Regardless of which path you choose, know that you really can avoid the system. Choose the ideal solution for your family. If you’re curious about how my program works, please reach out and we’ll schedule a free call to discuss your specific situation and how I may be able to help!