Sun Tzu wrote, “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting,” and I think it’s a quote that applies really well to family law in general.
To be fair, almost all of my cases come in with both parties feeling pretty agitated. Many clients tell me that they think their case will be a fight. It’s always a little hard for me to tell, since they all say the same thing, but, then again, probably 90% or more of our cases ultimately end up settling, so… Some do end up as knock-down, drag-out fights, but that’s the exception, not the rule.
Well, maybe that’s exaggerating. It’s fairly common for these things to take awhile to work out, or to be ugly even in negotiations. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t ultimately settle, and don’t wind up with a perfectly cordial relationship.
But how? How do you go from a married couple – to enemies – to relatively friendly coparents? It’s not easy, and it doesn’t always happen.
I think a lot has to do with the choices that you make at the beginning of the divorce, when both of you feel the most unsettled and anxious. You’re worried about money and your kids and what’ll happen to you and whether you’ll be alone for the rest of your life.
What choices should you be making at the beginning of your divorce? Good ones, obviously. But how do you know the good from the bad? How do you strategize?
A good place to start is by getting more information about the divorce process. I’m a firm believer that, the more you know about something, the better choices you can make. After all, there’s nothing quite as intimidating as not knowing what to expect – and fearing the worst. It creates a “fight or flight” response, and brings out the worst in most (if not all) of us. The more you know, the better you can prepare, the better choices you can make, and the better you can react to HIS fight or flight responses.
What’s worse than one irrational spouse? Two. In fact, it’s when the two are the most irrational that we end up with the worst divorce cases. So, just by being calm, cool, collected, and in control (at least outwardly!) you can help diffuse the tension and ensure a better result.
So, how do you get the information you need to make good divorce decisions?
That part, at least, is easy. And, because I like you, I won’t tell you to go to law school to do it. (Take it from me: it’s not that fun.)
1. Request a copy of our free divorce book (or any number of our valuable free reports!).
2. Attend a seminar.
(We’ve suspended these for a bit, at least until Virginia hits phase 2, but we’ll be back with a vengeance when this is all over.) The best part about the seminar? You get a chance to ask your questions to a live divorce and custody attorney. (Just to be clear, I don’t mean live as in alive; obviously we’re alive. Live as in in real time. I always feel weird when I type that.)
Need more information? Sure! We have a number of books and free reports that can help provide even more nitty gritty detail.
You can also schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys by calling our office at 757-425-5200. That’s definitely a good way to talk in depth about your personal situation, even if you’re not necessarily ready yet to take steps towards your divorce.
To put it simply, I think the best thing you can do, really, is to diffuse the bomb. Don’t fight fire with fire, as tempting as it may be – especially when you’re scared, too. Divorce doesn’t have to be awful, it doesn’t have to be something from which you’ll never financially recover (to put it in Joe Exotic’s words). It really doesn’t; in fact, it’s often not. But to save money, save time, save blood pressure points, and resolve things as quickly and effectively as possible, it’s a good idea to sit back, relax, and educate yourself.
For more information, or to schedule a consultation with one of our (live!) divorce and custody attorneys, give our office a call at 757-425-5200.