A Mistake to Avoid in Divorce/Martin Rosenfeld

Posted on November 27, 2010

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The Huffington Post has added a section on divorce-related issues. In a recent blog piece, Nina Collins outlined 5 mistakes to avoid in negotiating a divorce. I will discuss one below, as it is better coming from a non-attorney. Ms. Collins reminds us of the following:
“Lawyers are paid to go back and forth. No one knows the ins and outs of your situation better than you and your husband. The lawyer will tell you what’s reasonable, what’s likely, what the law is, but it’s not rocket science. You look at what you have and come up with a reasonable proposal for how to split it. The assets and the kids, that’s what it comes down to. How do you want to share them, what’s fair? Only a real psycho will want to go to court, which will just eat away at whatever money you do have, so the reasonable thing is to just keep talking to your spouse and pound out an agreement.”

The advice is well-stated. An attorney is less likely to get a handsome fee from a mediated agreement than from a contested divorce. Furthermore, no one knows what you need, what is reasonable to expect, and what you can live with, better than yourself. There is little to lose by attempting to settle your differences directly with your spouse. If that makes you uncomfortable, mediation can come in very handy in precisely such a situation. Someplace on the bottom of the list of desired outcomes, is litigation and confrontation. Talking will always trump fighting.

For more practical advise, review Ms. Collins’ comments. Do remember that mediation works and negotiation will serve you well. Do not consider this a sign of weakness. It is rather a sign of great prudence.

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