No. 1: Not wasting money on lawyers
Not wasting money is going to be a top priority when your whole financial future may now feel in jeopardy. The last thing you need is to feel your limited funds are going down a plughole of hourly lawyer’s fees, or rushing into a settlement that end ups being impossible to sustain financially.
Chasing unpaid maintenance/alimony is going to just pour more money down the drain, which you would rather spend on maintaining an acceptable standard of living, put towards university fees for the kids, or even invest in starting a new business from home.
So why do so many divorcing couples end up throwing their money away over a process that can take several years, if it becomes adversarial?
Well that’s just it – the adversarial nature of divorce makes it take much longer than it should – and that means more lawyers fees. This is why smart people who are unable to come to an acceptable, fair agreement over their divorce settlement over a cup of tea, prefer to invest in mediators, collaborative lawyers, or if they are self representing – a divorce consultant or McKenzie friend. They understand the importance of being able to find at least some areas of agreement, and with the right support, that can be more amicable a process than you might at first believe is possible.
When the benefits become clear of being able to sit in the same room as your Ex, and talk to a Financial Planner for example – who can guide you through the most complex pensions and property splitting scenarios and work out for you what your realistic finances will be in thirty years hence using clever software – then suddenly fighting it out in court just begins to feel self-destructive and pointless.
What many divorcing couples have learned is that arguing = spending money, but talking seriously about solutions for the future = a sustainable divorce settlement that is then very unlikely to be challenged in later years – which would of course result in further court battles and more lawyers bills. You get the picture, I’m sure.
So what is the first Must-Do to keep my divorce away from the adversarial lawyers?
The key step to take is to understand the roles of a wider range of experts than just those adversarial lawyers a friend may have recommended (they mean well, bless them – but oh the harm those kind of referrals can do!) Then have a no obligation chat with those experts/professionals who seem the most relevant to your particular situation. Don’t rush – take your time as the decisions you make will impact on your life and the life of your family in ways beyond what you can imagine at the moment.
Find professionals who share your desire to achieve amicable and fair agreements – trust your instincts and make sure you interview (because you are in charge of this divorce – not the lawyers) as many as you need until you find one or more professional experts in their field who can support you through this big transition in your life.
Descriptions of the roles of key professionals and experts can be seen in the Alternative Divorce Guide package that includes booklets, a resource DVD and vouchers for free initial conversations with top experts in their fields. The Alternative Divorce Organiser is also included and this provides answers to many common questions, and introductions to the relevant experts on our Alternative Divorce Directory.
In the meantime, look out for the next email in this series which will explain the Number 2 Top Must-Do in keeping your divorce away from adversarial lawyers…….