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The Don'ts of Divorce

Divorce is often not an easy process. The longer it goes on, the more stressful, unpleasant and expensive it can be. There are reasons why a divorce can take so long, some of them outside of the spouses' control. The only way it can ever be short and simple is if there are no fights about children, money or property.

Some reasons that are in wives' and husbands' control come when emotions overcome common sense, because contested divorces involve a lot of emotions.  

Desire for Revenge: Breaking up can be a chance to wreck years of mental and emotional havoc on a soon-to-be ex-spouse.  But that will be very expensive, both in legal fees and the stress of 'fighting a war' for 2-3 years, or more. A client seeking revenge should be prepared to pay for it.

Overly Aggressive Demands: It's not unusual for one side to push and push the other for more - more marital assets, more time with the kids, more money, etc. But pushing too far can end negotiations to resolve the case without a trial. On the other hand, if the demands are justified, they are not too aggressive. There's nothing wrong with fighting for what you and your lawyer feel you're entitled to.

Unrealistic Expectations: The person who is not willing to accept the law and the advice of his or her lawyer and who instead insists that they are "in the right," despite law and facts to the contrary will surely be surprised, angry and owing a large legal bill. Another "don't" is failing to tell the lawyer all of the facts, the bad and the ugly as well as the good. This can leave a client "out on a limb," especially if the "missing information" comes up while testifying. He or she could literally be 'on their own,' looking very bad before a judge, with even the most skilled lawyer unable to help.

The bottom line is that unnecessary squabbling will cost more time and money. As hard as it may be, keeping open-minded and understanding that a judge will rarely leave the other  spouse with "nothing" and will focus on the "best interests" of children above all else, will make things go smoother, and allow you to heal and move-on with your life.

Elizabeth Smith collaborated on this article. She is the Social Media Consultant to Kates Nussman Rapone Ellis and Farhi LLP, and recieved her BA in English from Montclair State University.

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