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8 Steps to a Smooth Divorce
1. Become educated on all aspects of Divorce. Reading the various websites available on divorce is an excellent start. Read every document available. Complicated subjects always deserve a second reading. Then, read your State Statutes on divorce. You will find they are written in almost-plain English and are understandable to the average person. State Statutes can be found by entering your state and the word statutes in most search engines. Look for anything that sounds like marriage or domestic relations.
2. Buy books on Divorce. Generic divorce books are a good start and will give you a good overview. But they will not completely do the job. Every state has different laws and requirements for divorce. So you need to look for a divorce book that specializes on your state divorce laws. Check local bookstores or online bookstores. But be aware: laws change and books become quickly outdated. That will not present a problem as long as you use the book for general education.
3. Take the high road during your divorce. Behave perfectly, beginning now. Cooperate with your spouse on arrangements for children. Do not waste, destroy, or hide assets. Take on the appearance of a saint. You will be happier, more relaxed, and less destructive to your family and assets. Most important of all, the spouse that takes the high road always does better in a divorce trial. Judges like to see you take the high road.
4. Use your newly gained knowledge and plan two possible outcomes: your best possible outcome and your worst possible outcome. Be realistic and put it in writing.
5. Use your knowledge of your spouse. Try to imagine what is going through your spouses mind. Make an educated guess and write down what sort of outcomes your spouse might pick. Come up with a best and worst outcome that you imagine your spouse would come up with.
6. With four possible outcomes on paper, you now have an overview of the battlefield. Using that information, see if you can work out a combination of give and take that approximates best outcomes for both spouses. It doesnt need to be perfect but you should try your best. When done, you have a powerful plan that will help you in negotiations.
7. Be involved in your divorce. Actively negotiate with a goal of peaceful settlement. Dont use destructive techniques. They only look bad for you at trial time. And never be afraid to ask your attorney questions. This is your divorce and you have to live with the result. The well-informed person will always come out ahead.
8. Last, become an expert on every word printed on legal papers and pleadings. Ask your attorney, look up definitions in books, or ask other experienced people. Dont assume anything. This is your life not your attorneys life. Treat this situation like it is the most important event of your life. Again, the well-informed person will always come out ahead.
Copyright 2005 The Divorce Center P.A.