There’s no way to make divorce truly simple, quick or easy, especially if there are significant assets and/or debts involved, or if there are complicated parenting schedule issues. (This is why I always recommend that married couples consider a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement in place. Call us at 303-449-1873 to find out if a pre-nup or post-nup is right for you.)
However, there are things that you and your estranged spouse can do to make the divorce process less complicated. And even if your former spouse isn’t interested in these ideas, you can still make the process go more smoothly simply by taking this advice to heart.
Just Be Logical
When you’re not in the middle of a divorce, this sounds painfully easy. When you’re in the thick of it, it may seem absurd: as much as possible, remove the emotional quotient from the picture and simply look at the situation as logically as possible. Ask yourself that, if this was a friend’s divorce, what would I recommend?
When emotions take over, people make decisions that aren’t ultimately in his/her best interests and, more importantly, are probably not in the best interests of the children. They become more invested in getting revenge or hurting the other side to their own detriment. In my experience, while this approach may result in some small victories, it can seriously enflame the other side and cause them to be much less willing to negotiate. It may also result in a level of animosity that makes things much more difficult for the children.
When there are children involved, it’s important to recognize that just because someone was a bad husband or wife doesn’t necessarily mean that they are a bad parent. This is particularly difficult for people who feel they have been wronged by their spouse, but when each adult genuinely cares about creating a scenario that is in the best interest of the children, everyone wins in the end.
Separate the Relevant from the Irrelevant
I’m not sure how people do this, but if you can separate issues that are relevant to the divorce proceedings from issues that are irrelevant, things will move more quickly.
For instance, Colorado is a no-fault divorce state, which means that if your spouse cheated on you during the marriage, though it may have caused a great emotional rift between the two of you, the Court will generally not take it into consideration when deciding the issues in the case and will not rule in your favor because of the affair. I had a conversation with a woman who was the breadwinner of the household who was so hurt by her husband’s affair that she couldn’t see the situation logically. She repeatedly told me that she didn’t want her husband to get anything from the divorce because she didn’t want her money to end up going toward supporting the new significant other, the woman who had an affair with her husband. This attitude caused the proceedings to be drawn out since she was very unwilling to negotiate… and the Court had no interest in hearing about the affair when we proceeded to trial..
If people would look at things objectively, most cases would not be nearly as problematic as they are.
Most Courts require the parties to mediate. If you go into mediation with an open mind, it can be very helpful in building some sense of cooperation, especially in cases that have become (or are in danger of becoming) highly emotional. In one case, a woman wanted a lot more money because her husband had never gone to any of their son’s Little League games. Well, her husband worked on the weekends when the games were played, so of course he couldn’t attend.
When they went to mediation, the wife was able to understand that the spouse had been doing his part, too, by working on the weekends to help keep the bills paid. They were more quickly able to work out an agreement because an independent third party was able to present the situation in an objective manner.
Of course, everything depends on the people. Some people aren’t willing to be amicable, and others are more than willing. Every case is different, which is why it’s so important to work with an experienced attorney who can help guide you through the case.
If you’re getting divorced, call us at 303-449-1873 to set up a free consultation.