By Carl Roberts
A successful divorce is easy. Millions of couples successfully divorce and move peacefully into their next chapters. Millions more have not. Unfortunately, for too many couples and families, divorce has devolved into a modern day Gladiator arena. A sport where nobody wins except the lawyers.
Like a successful marriage, a successful divorce takes two. No one ever thinks that they are the bad actor, but when a divorce gets ugly, and emotions run high, there is more than a 50/50 chance that you are a bad actor. If you didn’t start the hostility, it is for certain that you are reacting to it.
As more and more laws and statutes have been written regarding custody, support and property division, the unintended consequences have only fueled divorce conflict.
Instead of evolving in tandem with societal values, demographics and realities, laws have unintentionally evolved only to benefit bad actors and lawyers.
Fortunately, with over one million divorces annually, we know the triggers that can make divorce so awful. With this knowledge, we can better protect ourselves and our families from the unnecessary carnage of divorce. A successful divorce is easy when you follow two simple rules.
Rule #1 – Protect yourself from yourself
Yes, the stress of divorce can easily amp up emotions and we can be our own worst enemy. Animosity, fear of the unknown, lack of trust and anger are just some of the factors that help promote conflict. Unreasonable demands, using children as leverage and as pawns between parents, sense of entitlements can all become part of a divorce from hell. One that bankrupts families and destroys futures.
Money is often the primary motivator in divorce conflict. Whether it is child support, spousal support or property division, if it was not about money there would likely be no conflict. If it was not for the false temptation of winning, there would be no litigation.
Here are 5 simple ways, when divorcing, to protect you from yourself:
- Be fair with one another.
- Don’t fall prey to thoughts of entitlement.
- Don’t use the number of overnights to determine child support.
- Become financially independent of one another.
- Focus on the future, not the fight.
As best as you can, treat divorce as a business transaction. Treat the disclosure process like applying for a mortgage. Meet your disclosure obligations like your future depends on it.
Be aware that advice from friends, and sometimes lawyers, can be detrimental to your divorce outcome. Suggestions that you should do this or you can get that often are the opposite of being reasonable, fair or future oriented. Tune out advice from your friends. Together with your soon-to-be ex, find a good divorce coach, mediator or collaborative lawyer. You will get through this with more speed, more of your estate intact and much more peace of mind.
Rule #2 – Protect yourself from your future ex-spouse
Your ex is subject to the same stress and emotions as you. Their emotions can knock the process off the tracks as easily as yours can.
The more animosity and assets there are, the greater the likelihood that disclosure and discovery games will be played. Every state requires mandatory financial disclosures to be shared between the parties. The purpose is to promote transparency in hopes of facilitating equitable agreements more quickly.
Rarely are both fully compliant with disclosure and discovery. With animosity in play and money at stake, too often both parties try to deceive the other. People hide assets, withhold disclosures and often flat out lie. Know this: the more you play the game, the more expensive your divorce will be. Click here to learn how easy disclosures and property division can be.
When divorce goes wrong, good intentions get skewed. Thoughts of entitlement take precedence over fairness. Financial incentives trump a child’s best interests. Winning so you can punish the other becomes the goal. Reasonable settlement gets tossed aside.
To create a positive outcome and preserve your sanity, remember these principles: be reasonable, fair and transparent. Get the organizational structure and support you need from SplitSmart. Before you know it, you will be looking at a brighter future ahead.
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Carl Roberts is the founder of SplitSmart, an innovative new app designed to simplify and reduce conflict about divorce custody and financial issues. Both parents, attorneys, mediators and other divorce professionals benefit from this low cost, time-saving tool. Learn more about SplitSmart at www.splitsmart.com.