Managing your divorce is going to be one of the most difficult tasks in your life. What you want, what you need and what you eventually settle for are, in most cases going to be three rather different things.
The key decision is the method and strategy that you will use to try to bring these three things into line. Every divorce is unique and while it may be a good plan to avoid expensive lawyers, you may not be able to use mediation to agree and to settle out of court.
Remember, you do not need a reason to divorce so before deciding on the route to take consider how this might impact on your life after divorce. The 'better' the divorce and the least amount of anger and acrimony the sooner you will be able to enjoy the opportunities of your new life.
How do you define your strategy to achieve your divorce objectives? Here are some thoughts to help in this process.
This is the essential starting point. Without knowing what you want to achieve from the divorce you will clearly not be able to devise any meaningful strategy. The outcome of a divorce falls into two distinct groups, the children and dividing up the financial assets.
Whilst these appear to be separate outcomes they can, very sadly, be interrelated. At worst access to your children can be used as a bargaining counter against the division of the family financial assets. "If you want to see the children every weekend then I want the car." This is not the road you should be travelling.
Do everything you can to keep these things apart. However, in the end it is a case of deciding clearly on your priorities and sticking to them. If you want to keep the house, then stick with that but be prepared to make concessions in order to achieve it.
Once you have decided your priorities and figured out what you want within those priorities you should now be working on a plan to get there. This plan should also address the compromises you are prepared for in achieving your goals.
It cannot be stressed enough that a divorce with children and without children is very different. If you have children, your strategy needs to be totally focused on the interest of the children and your need to remain a big element in their lives. If that is not the case then your strategy should be adjusted accordingly.
In most cases, you will have three choices to resolve a divorce:
You sit down with your spouse in a neutral place and settle without lawyers.
This solution is the most likely to prevent further damage to you, your kids, emotions and finances. This is the least cost best outcome route but in truth is not a common method of achieving a divorce.
You settle in a collaborative divorce environment.
More expensive but using Family Mediation is still a good way to go and has more chance of working when there is the almost inevitable element of confrontation in the divorce.
You have a traditional divorce and possibly go to war.
This suggests you are willing to accept significant emotional damage to all participants (including, most importantly, the children) and that you are willing to bet an awful lot to achieve your goals. However, it should be remembered that not all traditional divorces need to descend into warfare. Get the right solicitor and this can still be a good option.