During the divorce process, too much of your life is up for grabs. It can feel like you constantly are having to make claims to assets or items that you never thought your soon-to-be ex-spouse would ever have an interest in.
In order to keep what you would like, you may have to fight for it, either in mediation or in court.
Mediation is an option
Mediation can be a beneficial way of not only acquiring information during the divorce process, but working on a settlement that can be beneficial to both divorcing parties. With the help of a mediator, both parties can figure out the priorities of the other and how both sides can come to a satisfying settlement.
As a divorcing individual, you may be hesitant to create the level of formal dialogue that mediation entails, and that is understandable. Many find themselves too jaded by the events that led up to the divorce that they simply want nothing to do with the other person.
The encouragement of formal communication between divorcing parties or co-parents after the divorce process is not an exact science. It does not necessarily mean that you fully trust the other party to do exactly what you say or want, and it does not mean that they owe you anything.
Mistrust is often inherent in the divorce process. Conflict and mistrust can fuel one another, causing a misreading of actions, according to “The Healthy Divorce” by Lois Gold. This can cause a constant cycle of misinterpretation to occur, breeding even more mistrust and conflict.
The emotions begin to cloud the actual actions occurring, which is how many can lose sight on keeping the assets and items that they wish to keep.
Intentions and goals
This is why it is so important in court or in mediation to make your intentions clear. As much as you may find your ex-spouse intolerable, the emotions of the situation may make you lose sight on the bigger picture, which is getting joint custody or keeping specific assets. This starts with discussing the situation with your attorney.
Cordell & Cordell Executive/Managing Partner and CEO Scott Trout said during an episode of the Men’s Divorce Podcast that there are times during mediation when an argument for a specific item or asset is based on principle, and you, as the client need to make the decision that that is truly what is in the best interest of their overall situation.
The client needs to be able to decide that the time and money spent on the divorce process is best spent on arguing over small things, based on principle, or that the big things that would improve your overall situation, would be better suited as target items. Your attorney is not going to make that decision for you.
Once you, as the client, make the decision, your party can proceed in the divorce process. You cannot afford to hide your intentions from your own attorney and risk losing out on pursuing what you want to keep in the divorce.
Get it in writing
You also cannot afford to informally make deals with your ex-spouse without getting them in writing. Many may look to foster a line of communication, because they may believe it to be in the best interests of themselves or of their children. This line of communication may actually be damaging to your case.
Without getting things in writing, it will not hold up in court and will turn into a ‘he said, she said’ that will only result in more time wasted on the argument and potentially losing the asset you were arguing about in the first place.
Loose lips sink ships
Just like a portion of the Miranda Rights that are read to suspected criminals when they are arrested: “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of law.”
As much as you may wish to reach out and speak to your soon-to-be ex-spouse, it poses too much risk to your case and can cost you during the divorce process. Because of the emotions involved, the risk of an argument breaking out and you saying something that you may not wish to be repeated in court is a real risk. Bad facts can cost divorcing individuals greatly.
Trust your attorney
Once you are separating the assets and making decisions, the trust between the two soon-to-be ex-spouses is no longer what it once was and any overture to negotiate without getting agreements in writing has a chance of damaging your future.
Protecting your future is one of the many reasons to enlist an attorney to represent you. They are looking out for your best interests and helping you create a more tolerable future for yourself and your children. In order to make their jobs a little easier, trust in them, rather than trusting the word of your soon-to-be ex-spouse, when it comes to matters of asset division and custody.
Dan Pearce is an Online Editor for Lexicon, focusing on subjects related to the legal services of customers, Cordell & Cordell and Cordell Planning Partners. He has written countless pieces on MensDivorce.com, detailing the plight of men and fathers going through the divorce experience, as well as the issues seniors and their families experience throughout the estate planning journey on ElderCareLaw.com. Mr. Pearce has managed websites and helped create content, such as the Men’s Divorce Newsletter and the YouTube series, “Men’s Divorce Countdown.” He also has been a contributor on both the Men’s Divorce Podcast and ElderTalk with TuckerAllen.
Mr. Pearce assisted in fostering a Cordell Planning Partners practice area specific for Veterans, as they deal with the intricacies of their benefits while planning for the future. He also helped create the Cordell Planning Partners Resource Guide and the Cordell Planning Partners Guide to Alternative Residence Options, specific for seniors with questions regarding their needs and living arrangements.