If you’re just entering or in the middle of a divorce case, it can be a tough time to think about strategy. After all, a divorce case is full of emotional investment on both ends of the spectrum. Under the circumstances, it’s no surprise that it can be hard to think clearly.
But that’s no reason you can’t take a little time out to consider what’s going on and learn some strategies that can swing the balance of power in your favor – or even just minimize the damage.
So how do you get more out of your divorce case? Simple: you focus on time-tested strategies and you put some time and effort into thinking how you can apply them in your own situation. Work hand-in-hand with your lawyer, sure, but don’t be afraid to be proactive on your own.
Here are some great ways you can get more out of your divorce case than you ever thought you would:
Strategy: Acquire knowledge.
Description: As the old saying goes, knowledge is power. While the idea of “acquiring knowledge” might sound like high-level reconnaissance if you’ve never been involved with this kind of case before, let’s just take a little time here to remind you that there’s no law against discovering what is a matter of public record. When it comes to your divorce case, it pays to know a lot of things: how much debt you both have acquired (and, subsequently, how much you have to share) and the earnings of the other party (which helps you make an argument against giant alimony payments), etc.
What does this knowledge get you? Sometimes it just helps to make your case clearer and smoother: the less mystery involved, the easier your divorce lawyers can handle everything. But you never know when a bit of knowledge about the situation might swing things in your favor. To get started, be willing to answer all the financial questions your lawyer asks you. Being dishonest will just work against you. But being honest might yield some interesting facts that your lawyer can use to work in your benefit.
Strategy: Have an idea of what your post-divorce life will look like.
Description: Setting a specific end-goal for any process is usually a good idea, but it might seem a little counter-intuitive when you apply it to divorce proceedings. After all, isn’t this a complicated situation where a good mutual agreement generally ends with both sides feeling like they missed out on something? Well, sure, but that’s all the more reason to bring specifics into play: the more complicated the situation, the more important it will be to retain your focus and have something easily-defined to work toward.
This doesn’t have to be any type of goal in particular. If you want to see your kids more than twice a week, make that your goal. If you want to have a good place to live and work after the divorce is over, make that your goal. It’s really up to you and your individual situation; there’s no real wrong answer when it comes to setting a specific goal for yourself. Make sure your lawyer is also aware of this goal; and if you don’t have a lawyer, make sure that you are thinking about this goal all the time and don’t make the crucial compromises that will cost you what you were really working towards. It’s okay to compromise in many other areas, but be solid and focused when it comes to your ultimate goals.
Strategy: Always be prepared.
Description: Sure, it might be better known as the motto of the boy scouts, but there’s a reason the “always be prepared” mantra has worked out for so many people: it’s effective. If you aren’t yet undergoing divorce proceedings but you think you may be headed in that direction, be sure that your finances can take it. Good financial strategies don’t mean that you’re hedging your bets and rooting for a divorce – far from it. They just show that you know how to handle money and that you’re ready for any and all situations that come your way.
How do you prepare for a divorce? One way is to save your own money. Build up your own credit – on your own, remember – and focus on what you need in order to have a successful financial life if you had to go it alone. One reason many divorces end so poorly is because one spouse is so heavily reliant on the other spouse that everything gets mixed up. Don’t let this be you; instead, be sure that you’re ready for any difficult financial situation that comes your way. Always be prepared.
Strategy: Make your children the priority.
Description: During a divorce, it can be easy to lose sight of what’s really important: family. Why? Because your family is getting torn apart! But it’s easy to forget about your relationship with your children. There’s no reason you can’t have a great relationship with them before, during, and long after the divorce. As long as you work on your own insecurities, provide a happy and strong presence for them, and always express your love, your children will respond. Don’t let a divorce become a divorce from your children as well; many times, it’s the response of your children that will determine whether or not you’ve had a successful divorce. And there’s nothing a lawyer can do to fix that for you.
Focus on your children as you consider you and your future “ex’s” lives after the divorce. How often can you visit them? Can you visit them more? Can you get joint custody? What can you do during the divorce to make sure your children suffer as little as possible?
If these strategies ring true for you, give them a shot during your divorce proceedings and you may find yourself much better prepared to handle the adversity headed your way. As long as you stay calm and proactive throughout the entire ordeal, you stand a good chance of accomplishing what you need to accomplish – whether you’ve hired a lawyer or not.