Plan ahead to keep your divorce out of court

The divorce process does not have to be messy and drawn-out. Certainly, some marital situations require a contested and relatively intense process. However, many if not most uncontested divorce processes do not require the same kind of time, energy and resources that complex divorce scenarios do. In order to facilitate a smooth divorce process whenever possible, it is important for divorcing couples to plan ahead before digging into the most challenging aspects of the process.

In essence, couples who are willing to work together in order to ensure a fair divorce settlement for both parties can do a great deal of divorce planning before engaging in multiple meetings with an attorney. It is critical that each spouse receives experienced legal counsel before any final decisions are made and before agreeing to anything that he or she has reservations about. However, planning for divorce collaboratively before handing the process over to an attorney can speed up divorce and keep it from becoming unnecessarily acrimonious.

Divorcing spouses willing to try their hand at this approach should begin by asking themselves individually what is truly important to them in any given outcome scenario. Then, it is valuable to prepare several plans that will allow each individual to reach that outcome. For example, if the couple believes that their children will benefit most from a shared custody arrangement, each parent should draft several versions of what that scenario might look like practically. By completing several drafts, each party will have a better idea of what their priorities are and how to make that goal attainable through fair and reasonable compromise.

After individual priorities such as child custody, what to do with the marital home and so on have been largely agreed upon, then the couples can approach their attorneys about how to best execute their mutually agreed upon wishes. With a little planning and some smart approaches to compromise, you can do your best to keep your divorce out of court.

Source: Huffington Post, "Present Your Best Case To Avoid Litigating Your Divorce," Diane L. Danois, Feb. 6, 2013

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