The average separating couple prefers to end their marriage through a quiet, confidential and cost-efficient resolution. They just don’t talk about it. Why not? Because “peacemaking” is often viewed as a sign of weakness rather than what it actually is—a sign of great strength. Peacemaking takes courage and hard work, particularly when well-intentioned friends or family yearn for drama.
Agree to disagree using conflict management
Disagreeing with someone else’s perspective is always allowable. However, of utmost importance is how that disagreement is managed. It’s important to find a divorce professional who aligns with your values of peacemaking while also advocating for an equitable settlement. The key is a professional’s skill in conflict resolution.
Your attorney or mediator should be there to help you manage the inherent conflicts in a separation or divorce, consequently creating a healthier transition for you out of your marriage. Many lawyers advise keeping emotions out of what they call “the business of” dissolving your marriage. This life transition triggers significant emotions, as does childbirth, marriage and death. Would someone keep the emotions out of those transitions?
Refusing to reach reasonable compromises or engaging in behavior that intentionally rankles your spouse, such as stalling, road-blocking and negative communication, are expensive activities because of the resulting litigation that ensues. Alternatively, we all know someone who sacrificed significant sums of money, time with their children or relinquished desirable assets because of emotional blackmail or conflict-avoidance. You have more options than either choosing between escalating conflict or avoiding it altogether. Are you risking your retirement security or your relationship with your kids? Choosing a legal professional is crucial in not only what you end up with but how you feel about yourself afterward.
Your attorney or mediator can help you make decisions about things you care about most, including your future financial security and creating a positive, two-home family for your children. Also, make wise use of your time. Each meeting with your divorce professional should have an agenda and desired outcomes addressing the issues at hand.
What matters most to reduce and resolve conflict in your divorce
My mantra is “conflict costs money.” Disagreements around key issues, like financial settlements and parenting, are normal. It’s how you handle those disagreements that matters.
Mediation and Collaborative Law are ideal for those who do not want to engage the court in their private family matter. Although both of these models use professional services, they are often far less expensive than going to court with an aggressive trial lawyer. Choose your process very carefully if you want to avoid litigation costs. A responsible family law attorney should be able to help you weigh the pros and cons of all process options that are available to you and be willing to refer you elsewhere if they don’t practice in the model you feel is best for you.
When seeking separation or divorce, your choice of a legal professional can make the difference between not being able to sleep at night and finding peace of mind. The more you focus on moving on, rather than simply moving out, the less you will spend in real dollars to get divorced.
Felicia Soleil can be reached at 253.853.6940. All consultations are strictly confidential.
Felicia Soleil’s Family Law Resolutions
7191 Wagner Way NW, Suite 303
Gig Harbor, Washington 98335