Your MOST Important Decision
If you are reading this, you are probably considering a change in your family situation. If so, the single most important decision you must make is about: “How am I and my spouse going to negotiate our family’s future?”
You are starting a negotiation that impacts your entire future. You must decide what process you will use in that negotiation. You have only two choices: Respectful, non-adversarial negotiation directed by you or adversarial negotiation directed by your lawyer and, ultimately, the judge.
Family law involves an intricate interplay among your rights and responsibilities with respect to:
- The care, supervision, and support of your children
- Your duty to carefully manage and fully disclose all information about what you own, owe, and earn
- Your right and duty to appropriately share all of the family’s income, and
- Your duty to make reasonable efforts to maximize that income.
If you choose the respectful, non-adversarial approach, you will work with your spouse in mediation or Collaborative Divorce or you will “do it yourself” at the kitchen table. Conflict is inevitable, but, working with trained professionals, you can manage it. When you reduce conflict, you open up possible “out of the box” solutions that court have no power to create, and you greatly improve the chance that you will have a durable, mutually acceptable agreement.
If you choose the adversarial, “default” approach to resolution, intensified conflict is nearly inevitable. You already have significant differences between you. The prohibition or inhibition on direct contact promoted by your lawyer, the focus placed on the negative acts or attitudes of your soon-to-be-former spouse which are publicly presented to the court, and the positional bargaining that is so much a part of adversarial negotiation, conspire to increase the distance and heighten the hostility between you.
As you embark on this difficult and emotional journey, consider carefully the toll on yourself, your children, and your family that overt hostility and conflict will have both in the next few months and, more importantly, over the next few years. Research and commons sense tells us that a mutually acceptable agreement reached in a respectful manner is more durable, financially less expensive, and healthier for you children.
The Choice is Yours.