Its indeed a piece of bad news that divorce is the #2 Life Stressor, right after death!
In This Article
With the U.S. divorce rate hovering at around 50% (higher for subsequent marriages), millions of people will experience this life stressor. So, it’s good to be prepared with some basic knowledge about how to handle the legal aspects of divorcing with dignity.
The piece of good news is that it is helpful to keep in mind that the process of divorce is not some mysterious or esoteric exercise.
On the contrary, divorcing with dignity is a straightforward process of ending relationships and setting out a path for the future.
There are steps you can take early to keep your divorce civilized and as amicable and affordable as possible.
Keys to ending a relationship with dignity
For the most part, there are three main factors in divorcing with dignity: the children, dividing the assets and debts and spousal support.
While there can certainly be hiccups along the way, so long as both parties are honest, forthcoming and fair, the divorce process can be cordial and not terribly expensive.
Figuring out how to go about divorcing with dignity and pride, by handling these three aspects of a divorce, does not have to be laborious or drawn-out.
If you have been wondering how to have an amicable divorce, here are some basic guidelines that you must follow: pick the right lawyer, pick a good therapist or support group and pick your battles.
By keeping things simple, you can save your time, energy and most importantly, money in the process of divorcing with dignity. The most important decision is choosing the right lawyer.
Like many of the specialized professions existing today, the legal world is one of the specialties. For example, you wouldn’t pick a podiatrist to perform your heart surgery, on similar lines, you should not pick a real estate lawyer to handle your divorce!
Do good research to find a lawyer with plenty of experience in family law. You can also seek some advice and recommendations from your friends and well-wishers on divorcing with dignity.
You should choose a lawyer who is easy to communicate with, willing to include you in all key strategic decisions in your case and honest about costs and fees.
Don’t get carried away by big offices, fancy desks or a string of names on the letterhead. Remember that you are the one who will be paying for all of that!
Ask for references and do a thorough groundwork. Go on a couple of consultations and pay for them to get your questions answered.
You likely put a lot of time and money into getting married. So, you should not be caught on the wrong foot, if it takes a good amount of time and money for divorcing with dignity!
How to get divorced with dignity
Once you have found your perfect lawyer, use your time wisely.
Lawyers are not therapists and should not be used as such. While your lawyer should be compassionate, don’t expect them to handle the emotional aspects of the divorce for you and your family.
You should take the help of certified therapists and support groups and even divorce coaches to assist and guide you with the emotional facets of divorcing with dignity. Ask your lawyer for referrals if you are not able to find any reliable resources.
Always be mindful of the strategy of your case
Don’t just pay a retainer and hide under a rock. You need to stay on top of what is going on in your case and move your lawyer in the right direction if you don’t see any progress.
It is perfectly fine to nudge your lawyer here and there for an update on what’s going on and to see how your money is being spent.
It is pivotal to remember that your lawyer works for you and not the other way around!
Be mindful of what to invest your time and money in
For example, don’t fight a costly battle over an issue just to punish your soon-to-be-ex if the “win” will not be worth the cost of the fight.
We all hear horror stories of divorces that drive the parties into bankruptcy or spend all of the kids’ college funds on lawyer fees. Don’t be that couple.
Put your bitter experiences aside and make decisions mindfully for divorcing with dignity. You must make sure to not drain your wealth as well as mental health.
It is perfectly okay to forgive at times. Forgiving does you more good than it does to the recipient.
Also watch: 7 Most Common Reasons for Divorce
Alternatives to the conventional divorce model
Most States offer alternatives to the old litigation divorce model.
Mediation, arbitration, and collaboration are wonderful alternative dispute resolution vehicles and are often more affordable for couples.
If you are not fond of the idea of a stranger in a black robe making decisions for your new family structure going forward, avoid the litigation route. You will save time, money and aggravation by choosing one of the alternatives.
In conclusion, you can keep your divorce from spinning out of control by having a lawyer who will include you in key decisions in the case and who does not spend your money fighting unnecessary battles.
If you handle the emotional turmoil outside of the legal arena, you should be able to clearly focus on the business decisions involved in the divorce process. While divorce is a top Life Stressor, it is not the end of the world.
Millions of people have survived divorce and today’s society no longer considers one to have a “broken home” just because you are divorced. Hold your head high and do the very best that you can for yourself and your children and your new beginning will be just around the corner.
For more practical tips on divorcing with dignity or to get more information on alternative dispute resolutions, check out the book: You Don’t have to Sell the Farm to Get Rid of the Jackass, by Bonnie Jerbasi on Amazon and NJ DIVORCE.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Bonnie Jerbasi, Esq., had practiced law in New Jersey since 1986. She is a litigator, family law mediator and collaborative attorney with an office in Montclair. She is the author of You Don’t Have to Sell the Farm to Get Rid of the Jackass (Woodpecker Press 2014). Throughout the years, she has been affiliated with organizations that are devoted to the development of mind, body and spiritual awareness, along with groups supporting those going through divorce or dealing with other family law matters. She is writing her next book on the new paradigm of marriage. Born and raised in Montclair, Bonnie is a Jersey girl, lawyer, author and mother of two fabulous children. Personal energy management and life balance are cornerstones to success in both her work and personal life. Spiritual growth and helping others, as well as travel and time spent with family, are her joy.