Strike While the Iron is Hot

Is your X telling you that they will take care of you? Saying that they will pay for the children’s college expenses? Are they showing compassion and remorse for your divorce? If the answer is yes to any of these questions is YES, it is time to get a move on and settle your divorce as quickly as possible.

The best outcomes from a divorce happen when the parties get through the issues quickly with thought and care. Great outcomes also happen when you use mediation. A skilled third party can make all the difference. The longer your divorce takes the more money it costs and the harder it is for the parties to reach agreement. It does take time for the shock of the divorce to settle in and to be able to deal with the emotional issues, particularly if the decision to divorce is not a mutual, but if the divorce negotiations take too, long folks can get set in their position and typically a legal battle will be raging.

Unless there is significant wealth involved, divorce strains the finances. The same income has to support two households. The ability to change your spending to accommodate the cost of two homes is not easy and if you do not do the work to understand how you are spending you money, either your credit card debt starts to rise or your savings are used to meet the gap. The financial situation is stressed further when you start to incur significant legal expenses.  As the length of your divorce extends the worse your financial situation gets and, after everything is done, when you really need that nest egg, it is gone.

So, how do you get through your divorce quickly?

Develop your parenting arrangement first. Do this first because It is essential for your children to have a sense of stability and to be able to understand when they will see each parent. Also, doing this will take the most emotional issue off the table. Folks can get caught up with the fact that they will not see their children every day or who will be designated the Parent of Primary Residence. These issues cause a great deal of emotional angst so getting parenting off the table will make the other, more mechanical, issues seem easy. The payment of child support can also cause folks to get irrational. Find out what the numbers are likely to be. The difference in support from a 50/50 parenting arrangement to a 70/30 schedule may be much less than you think and may not be worth the legal fees to fight over it. Get the numbers run for various alternatives and move on.

Get organized on the finances as quickly as you can so that you are able to deal with money issues. Play around with support numbers; so that you can see that there is a range of numbers that will be acceptable.

Don’t let bumps in the road stop the process. One of my client’s spouses lost his job while they were in mediation. Rather than continue the mediation and get things settled, everything stopped for 9 months.  In that time savings continued to be used up and at the end there was nothing gained by waiting. Time is your enemy. The longer things progress the more you will spend on legal fees and the more your will have the opportunity for disputes to arise.

Remember, once you reach an agreement, if there is a significant change in circumstances you have the ability to re-negotiate alimony and child support. In hindsight, I should have agreed to pay the amount of alimony my X was asking for rather than allow my divorce to get into litigation and stretch out for 6 years. We both would have had money in the bank and been able to move on with our lives.

So get on with it.

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