Clients come to me expecting “to win” their divorce. Divorce is not a game anyone should play!
The other day opposing counsel offered an apology after heated settlement discussions in a divorce case we were working together. In jest I reminded him to “hate the game – not the player.”
It’s extremely challenging working towards helping people restructure their families and assets in the midst of the hatred and anger they feel for one another during a divorce.
I define “winning your divorce” as knowing you came out of a relationship with what’s fair and equitable regarding debt and asset division. Your kids came out better, seeing you happier and out of the marital strife that occurs before divorce. You didn’t spend the equivalent of a down payment on a house or the kid’s college tuition to make the divorce happen.
Frequently I’m asked how many cases I “win.” I look gently into my client’s eyes and in the softest voice remind him that this is divorce….. No one wins.
Divorce sucks in fact! Understanding of the above definition, I can do my best to get you through the divorce, but no one really “wins” a Divorce.
I do, however, have many happy clients feeling they’ve won according to my idea of divorce victory.
Here are some scenarios where you think you won your divorce.
1. Filing for divorce on your own, never working with an attorney.
The Outcome: When “things blow up” and they usually do, it’s because specific issues were not addressed with legal considerations or left out completely. A family law attorney already knows what these issues are and can address them all at once.
2. The “good guy syndrome” walking away from everything or anything you are legally entitled, so you don’t have to fight about it and want to fade blissfully into the background.
The Outcome: You give up everything and still have a fight and pain of divorce.
3. Totally avoid everything and stay UNhappily married for the long haul.
The Outcome: unhappiness, setting a poor example for your children and never finding the peace and love you deserve.
These are not winning strategies; maybe less expensive but not successful.
These are the 3 “winning at Divorce” strategies.
1. Mediate first with a well – trained family law mediator AFTER you have your facts and “positions” documented. You need to know your financial picture before mediation.
2. Don’t just pick any lawyer, and definitely don’t find the best trial attorney. While it is helpful and essential that your lawyer has trial experience, those preparing for trial from day one have a completely different mindset from those of us who work on the fix instead of the fight. Focus on how many cases your attorney has settled for her client’s not how many had to go to court.
3. Get rid of the paranoia and the mistrust. I get the anger. I get the fear of the unknown, but do whatever you have to do to get through this final stage together. If you aren’t ready to retain me, I will go as far as to advise that you ask your spouse or partner who her attorney likes to work with the most, and then meet with that lawyer to represent you.
Our Family Bar in Colorado is wonderful and most attorneys work really well together. If you can hire a good attorney already working with your ex’s counsel, things may get done a little faster and without the drama because of the trust and familiar experience the attorneys have working with one another.
Remember, you only have to hate the game if you make it a game instead of saving your children and restructuring your family successfully.
If you have any questions or concerns please call 720-722-0776 or Email Me