When I decided to get divorced I agonized over the decision for 2 years and it was understandably a very difficult decision. My kids were 2 and 4, and I was married to a really great guy. So you ask, why then did I divorce him? Looking back, I thought it was entirely his fault. I have come to realize, however, that I had some crazy expectations that I thought he should live up to and he didn’t, and nobody could have. It’s a long story and a discussion for another blog. Suffice it to say, I was at a minimum 50% of the problem and I would venture to say more like 70%.
I decided I may be a bit of an A-type personality when I prepared a detailed spreadsheet spelling out exactly how our divorce would go down. I showed it to my ex and he, thankfully, agreed with everything. In my mind, I made it an offer he couldn’t refuse because I wanted it to be as quick and painless as possible for all of us. We hired separate attorneys because that’s what we were advised to do. We handed them the spreadsheet and told them exactly what we wanted. We didn’t contest anything. Our divorce was final in 4 months. All the lawyers had to do was to prepare the documents and show up in court. Despite all of our preparation and detail, it still cost us over $7,000 to get divorced! This is absolutely ludicrous and mind-boggling to me! Imagine if we spent any amount of time fighting over assets or custody.
I know of another couple that had tons of assets in the bank, a huge home, several investment homes and 3 kids. They fought like crazy in court and now they have nothing left! The attorneys took it all and they still owe them money three years later! The mother lives with her parents now and the father lives in a small apartment. Despite all of this they still fight today and continue their drama. They have 3 kids and have to start all over because they put the fight before the family. Don’t make their mistake-obviously it’s not worth it. I can only imagine the damage they have caused to their children with all of this nonsense.
Attorneys are there to protect your rights, but many times simply add fuel to the fire so that they can get paid more. You have a choice to make…either spend your time and money in court, making your attorneys wealthy or keep the money in your pocket and do some old fashion compromising. What in the world is worth throwing all of your money away to fight for-except for custody, if you have to?
Professionals say though that fighting over custody is not in the best interest of the children in most cases and that it is usually in the best interest of the children to have both parents in their lives. I tend to agree because I was raised without a father and it showed a lot in my early behavior. The only time fighting over custody makes any sense is when a child is truly in danger. Unfortunately, some lawyers and their clients use custody as a bullshit tactic to gain more possessions. Don’t allow your lawyer to use your children as pawns in your divorce!
Save yourself and your ex some grief and some cash; tell your lawyers exactly what you want, stay out of court as much as possible and make it fair for everybody involved. Strongly consider taking the high road every time, treat your ex with respect and love your children more than you hate your ex. It’s your divorce – you can make it what you want it to be!