When in the swirl of a divorce, things might seem more than a little crazy. It is often a trying, draining, emotional time. And so, a few words from the trenches, guideposts before entering the arena of what can be one of life’s more stressful undertakings.
1. Punishment is not the goal. The goal of your divorce – especially when children are involved – is to make peace with it, make sure your interests are protected, then to move on. Bloodlust is not a proper guide through the legal and emotional minefield.
2. Don’t confuse the lawyers with your spouse. Often, there is lots of anger or, at the least, a sense of profound loss and disappointment. Keep in mind though, neither your lawyer nor your spouse’s created the matters they were hired to resolve. While it’s eminently human to rail against the lawyers, keeping focused on solutions is most times a better course. It is good to keep in mind that the lawyer on the other side is generally doing for her client precisely what you want yours to do for you.
3. Children are the most important thing. When there are children involved in a divorce, their welfare must be preeminent. Whatever differences you and your spouse have developed, the children are utterly and completely innocent. Even after you divorce, if you have children together, you are in some way “joined” in perpetuity. The kids come first. Even if you can’t imagine how you could ever get along with your soon-to-be-ex, you’ve got to figure something out. The children need you both.
4. What’s yours is both of yours. Under Colorado law, what was acquired during a marriage – except through gift or inheritance – is marital property. Regardless of who put what into the nest, the egg belongs to you both. While there are means and methods of protecting a party’s interests and structuring a settlement in ways more favorable to your interests, you will do well to remember that in entering the marriage, you agreed to share (and to generally share equally) with your spouse.
5. You don’t want a stranger to decide for you. Courts exist for very good reasons, among them to keep relative peace between the parties. That said, however, divorce is personal. A judge simply cannot know what is dear to you. Most times, it’s best to sort things out yourselves. That said, however, sometimes trial is the only reasonable alternative.
6. Don’t sweat the little stuff. Sometimes the little things are blown far out of proportion in divorce. Who gets the Elvis on velvet is seldom worth the stress and financial cost of the argument. Keep your eye on what’s important. Know what is important to you and stick to it.
7. It gets better. There are reasons people divorce, likely as many reasons as there are couples. While anger, hurt, and resentment are understandable, things will get better. A new day always dawns.
Rohn K. Robbins, Special Counsel
Stevens, Littman, Biddison, Tharp & Weinberg, LLC