Throughout my years of practice, I have come to find that men and women go through divorce differently. Women, no matter if it’s their choice or not, are more emotionally driven in their decision making. The emotionality of a marriage breakup takes a toll on them. Men can handle a divorce like a business transaction, remove the emotion, cut through to the financials and negotiate as they would at the table of a large economic negotiation, without regard to the emotional ties to their wife and children.
For women to even the playing field and begin to get a fair shake in the realm of divorce, they must play like a man. There are three things that can help, that all women need to do in approaching divorce.
- Do Not Share. When I say, “Do not share”, I mean do not tell your husband you’re contemplating divorce. Do not tell your husband that you saw a divorce attorney. Do not tell them that you are about to file for divorce. The reason is, you have a strategic advantage with the element of surprise. It is important in many situations to use that advantage to its maximum ability. That is why sharing the imminent divorce proceedings can end up putting you at a disadvantage and putting you on the defense.
“The best offense is a good defense.” If the opposition is aware you are filing for divorce they may decide to seek counsel first This can lead to a disadvantage from the start. Your husband may conflict out the reputable attorneys before you have a chance to decide who you would like to retain. There will be ramifications of getting the best attorneys in town conflicted out. That is one of the reasons why we represent only women. Therefore, your husband can’t conflict us out of the case. Believe me, if they could, they would.
- Think Smart. By that I mean surround yourself with the right advice, so that you can make intelligent decisions. When you are embarking on a divorce, or in the middle of the divorce, you are going to need to make decisions. These are difficult decisions. These are decisions about where you are going to live and how much income you need every month to survive. Decisions about the schedules of your children, when are you going to see them, when is their father going to see them? What’s going to happen when you both start dating? How is that going to affect the children? Are you going to stay in the house? Are you not? How are the assets going to be divided?
There are a lot of decisions. The best way to prepare is to take some time for yourself to get your head straight, so that you can focus on making good decisions. A simple practice is to meditate. You can begin meditating, maybe before you go see your attorney, to give you a clear, open ability to hear what’s being said. Exercise is also a wonderful way to reduce stress and clear your mind.
- Hire the Right Attorney. You need to investigate that attorney and understand what questions to ask. Most importantly, listen to the questions they ask you. You may find as you meet with different attorney’s, all they do is talk about themselves. They aren’t asking you the questions that are going to determine where you’re going to end up. Are they asking you about your goals? Are they concerned about where you are going to be in three years? Your divorce settlement, trial preparation, everything needs to be premised on the basis that you are going on with your life. You need to be clear on how you are going to proceed forward.
If your attorney is not looking forward, you’re going to end up with a short-term result that you may regret in the future. You need to develop a strong working relationship with your law firm. As women, we have great intuition. Have that intuition. Maybe ask to meet some of their staff. The best law firms are going to have more than one attorney. You may find one will be a junior associate and the other a senior associate. That’s good, that’s what you want. You want to have that tier of representation. You will also want to meet the paralegal. You’re going to talk to the paralegal—a lot. It is important there is a staff working for you because if someone is sick or on vacation, your case will not be affected.
Please consider these top 3 things that will help you begin to level the playing field. If our law office can help you with your divorce, please do not hesitate to contact us as we will be happy to consult with you and determine if it’s the right relationship.