Sunday, July 22, 2012

Are There Shortcuts to Divorces?

One of the biggest concerns of  people going through a divorce or other family law process is how long it takes to complete it.  Initially, it may just be one of the parties who is upset about the slow pace, but after a while, both parties often are very anxious to end it.  The parties often ask their attorneys to speed up the process, but that is difficult.  Your only avenue for quick action is to come to an agreement.  That involves the other side in the case, which means compromise.

If you find yourself looking for shortcuts in the divorce process, here are some things to keep in mind.

1.  Be clear with your attorney about what your objectives and priorities are. If you prefer speed over thoroughness or over cost considerations, tell your attorney.  If there are certain outcomes that are most important to you, such as getting primary custody or having an expanded visitation schedule or keeping the house, be sure to discuss those with your attorney.  To end the divorce quickly, your attorney needs to know what you absolutely need to end up with.

2.  Be prepared to pay more to your attorney in the near future.  If you want to speed up the process, that probably means that your attorney will get very busy and put in a lot more time on your case right away.  That means much more cost to you, so be prepared for that.  There is a trade off.  More work = higher attorney's fees.

3.  "Haste makes waste."  Benjamin Franklin's saying applies here.  You may miss something if you and your attorney are speeding through the process.  Attorneys will usually look through the information the get and try to figure out if anything is missing.  If you rush, you will probably not get a complete or accurate picture of the finances or other important facts.  That could cost you in the long run.

4.  Pushing hard to speed up the case could derail the process.  People need time to process issues and decisions dealing with family matters.  If you push too hard or push in the wrong way, your spouse may just stop.  It takes both sides together to move quickly through the legal system.  Your spouse could just freeze up if he or she feels too much pressure.  You have to think about the most effect way to motivate your spouse or ex.

5.  You may have to give up something you really want or expect.  It's normally not possible for you to force the other side to move quickly and to do things your way.  Quite often, you trade value for speed.  You have to decide if your spouse is demanding too much to come to a quick agreement.

Here are three points to remember if you think you want to try a shortcut so you can finish up your family law issue:
  • Shortcuts aren't always short.  Sometimes they backfire.
  • Shortcuts aren't always effective.  Your spouse or ex has a say in whether an agreement is reached.
  • Shortcuts may turn into a bumpy road.  Getting to an agreement can be a very unpleasant process.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Overcoming a Friday the 13th!

Divorce is usually a tough process emotionally, so it's sorta like piling on to be going through a divorce, or any other litigation, and also have to deal with a Friday the 13th!

One of my favorite blogs is the Positivity Blog  and they have a post today that doesn't mention Friday the 13th, but it seems like it would be good medicine for someone having a tough day.  By the way, I think their ideas would also work on other days, but psychologically, some people may really worry about a Friday the 13th.  If you're one of those, here are some quick ideas for trying something a little different to just shake up your life.

If you're just going through a divorce or other litigation, and you're having a hard time, these little steps might help get you out of a funk.  Do something different and see if you feel better!
  • Try listening to some music that you don't normally listen to on your iPod or whatever music source you use.  Try classical, blues, classic rock, country, bluegrass, zydeco or some other type that you don't usually tune in to.  You might really enjoy a little variety.
  • Try eating a different kind of food if you go out to eat.  Most people get in a rut and eat the same type of food whenever they eat out.  Surprise yourself and your taste buds!
  • If you cook, try a new recipe at least once a week.
  • For a day, smile at everyone you see.  They may wonder why you are smiling, and they may ask, but that's not a bad way to start a conversation.  You'll notice a friendly response from most people.
  • Stay off the Internet for a weekend.  Go no tech.  You will survive and you may discover an  interesting  new world co-existing with the electronic world.
If you have some tricks to beat the blues or break a bad luck streak, send us a comment.  Otherwise, have a good time today in spite of it being Friday the 13th!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Ending a Long-Term Marriage -- 5 Fallacies

Many couples, later in life, are facing the end of their marriages.  It seems to be more and more common for Baby Boomers to decide to divorce in their 50s and 60s and later.  That decision creates many new challenges for both parties, but especially for one party if she or he was not the initiating party.  Divorcing is not too difficult if both parties are emotionally ready for it and want to be divorced.  The biggest problem comes when one party is surprised by the other party's decision to start a divorce.

When one party reaches the point of committing to a divorce, and the other party doesn't know it's coming, there can be some big problems for both parties.  Sometimes the signs are there, but a spouse just doesn't want to acknowledge them.  Hiding one's head in the sand will only work for so long.  Eventually, everyone has to face the situation and start making difficult decisions.  Acceptance doesn't come easily for many people.  They deny that the divorce is going to take place, or that it should, and then later will fight to punish their departing spouse.

The spouse initiating a divorce, when the other spouse is surprised, often has some very wrong ideas about what to expect.  The initiator often has spent a lot of time reviewing the situation and has some up with some very logical plans for ending the marriage.  Sometimes, the plans are very selfish, which makes them a hard sell.  Other times, the plans are generous, but even those may be hard to promote.  Unfortunately, logic usually doesn't work, at least initially, when dealing with a very emotional spouse.

Here are some false expectations that are common at the outset of a Baby Boomer divorce later in life.

1.  This can be quick.  It almost never is, and it won't be if the other spouse isn't ready emotionally.  Unless there have been a lot of productive discussions in advance, it will probably take quite a while -- a year or so in litigation; probably less in Collaborative Law.  Aside from the emotions, there's a lot to unravel after a long marriage.  Quite often there are children, some minor and some adult, and provisions are usually made for them.  In addition, planning for employment and retirement for the spouses can be very challenging, especially if one has been a stay-at-home parent.

2.  It can be cheap.  That partly depends on how much fighting is going on, which is affected by the emotional readiness of each spouse. In addition, the parties will be dividing up assets and suddenly will be facing the "golden" years without half the gold they accumulated and planned with over the years.  Retirement plans and housing get drastically changed.  In addition, the costs of a divorce can be substantial if there is a lot of fighting or there are a number of assets that require expert valuations.

3.  It's easy.  After a long-term marriage, there are many, many connections and dependencies which have to be undone or compensated for.  Over the years, parties make a lot of assumptions about their future, and now new plans have to be made.  Complications come from age, health, unemployment, outdated job skills, shrinking  retirement funds and insurance issues.  It will not be simple.

4.  It can be painless.  Sure, if everyone agrees to get the divorce and instantly agrees on the terms.  Of course, that never happens.  Most often, the "leavee" is angry and out for revenge, or at least a lopsidedly-favorable settlement.  Usually, the initiator pays for the break-up, even if the the other party is partly or wholly at fault.  Remember, logic has little or no place in divorces.

5.  A party can just walk away.  It's never that easy.  There will always be ties -- financial connections, family relationships, children, and friends, among other ways.  Unless both parties are emotionally on the same page, expect trouble!

Suggestion:  Consider using Collaborative Law to help deal with the emotions and the varied financial issues that Baby Boomers face when they divorce later in life.  That's smarter than trying to handle this by yourself or going through litigation.