One of the most significant factors impacting children in divorce is the level of conflict between the parents. Putting Children First JoAnne Pedro-Carroll, Ph.D.
Parents who want to protect their children from the harmful effects of divorce need to gather as much information as possible about their options before taking the first steps toward divorce.
Divorce is difficult for everyone in the family, including the children. Certainly some children suffer significant harm from the effects of divorce or, more accurately, harm from the effects of conflict between parents. However, there are also many children who emerge from divorce with everything they need to live the happy, healthy lives we dream of for our children.
Children should be at the center of their Parent’s concerns and not in the middle of parental warfare.
Child Specialists can assist with building parenting plans and helping parents with children’s issues.
Choose professionals who share your values that children should be loved, supported and protected.
Reduce the Cost of Divorce
Legal Fees are a significant cost in a divorce yet the legal aspects of a divorce, while critically important, are not the only things that matter.
One way to reduce the cost is to think in terms of effective use of any divorce professional in your case.
A Collaborative Attorney helps you understand the law and your options and aid in negotiating a settlement. Hiring an attorney who has good conflict resolution skills offers lawyering that is supportive and effective.
A Non- Collaborative Attorney who contributes to conflict through arguments, lengthy letters or motions may increase conflict, making it harder for you to reach a settlement.
While divorce is overall a legal process, there are emotional, financial and other issues that are more effectively addressed by different professionals. Employing financial neutrals, child specialists, mental health professionals, coaches or mediators to target your specific concerns, clears the way to completing the legal work at hand and achieving a better outcome, lowering overall cost.
Evaluate what you can do to lower conflict and manage stress. Divorce is an emotional time and often much of the expense of a divorce is spent addressing these emotions.
It is natural for people to experience significant anger, sadness and fear during a divorce.
It is generally best to acknowledge that these emotions exist among even the healthiest of divorcing couples rather than denying these feelings.
It is critical to ask for the help you deserve in addressing these emotions, through therapy, support groups, religious organizations, coaches and genuine support of friends and family.
In most marriages there is at least one spouse who is not as prepared to handle finances. If you are that spouse, this is a good time to catch up by learning about budgeting, financial planning and investing. It should not take a long time or be complicated to get this information and this may speed settlement.
If you are the chief financial officer of your family, you will reach agreement more quickly when your spouse is financially prepared to negotiate.
Even if your perspective is that divorce is a “win-lose” proposition in which one person has to be the “loser” on each issue, you may want to rethink your viewpoint.
It will be an expensive way of thinking that can result in both spouses losing much of their hard earned money trying to find a winner.
In some litigation scenarios the only possible “winners” could turn out to be the lawyers who get paid a lot of money trying to establish a “winner” in a no-win process.
What if you and your spouse can, with help, learn to work together? Or at a minimum, if you can’t, at least hire professionals who can work together effectively, on your behalf.
There are conversations that can add value and result in both of you saving money on taxes or transaction costs during the divorce so that you can both come out better financially.
There are tax rules relating to divorce that provide couples with opportunities to save thousands of dollars if they are able to work together.
There are rules relating to real estate and retirement accounts that can help meet cash flow needs and reduce overall cost.
Durability – Plan For the Future Now
Since most divorce agreements involve issues that will change over time, particularly if you have children or have spousal maintenance issues, it is critical that you have an agreement that will be durable over time and can be modified.
Saving money at the time or your divorce, only to find yourself involved in a dispute with your spouse two years later, will cost more money in the long run. Do it right the first time.
Think of pursuing a sustainable agreement for you, your spouse and your children for now and for the future.
Collaborative Law Association of the Rochester Area, Inc.