The New Year marks the start of the divorce lawyer’s busy season. Married couples have emerged from the trenches of what is paradoxically called ‘The Season of Good Will’ to launch themselves with gusto into the divorce courts.
Although most of us will decide to give it another year, it may be an opportune time to consider the Three Rules of Divorce (“The Three “D’s”).
Paul Simon suggested that there are 50 ways to leave your lover. In a divorce situation, they all seem to involve the slamming of doors and shouting.
Divorce Rule 1 - Do nothing to wind your partner up. The more satisfying the insult the more it will cost you in legal fees to sort out. So, in divorce, be nice to your spouse. Where children are involved, this will help keep a semblance of goodwill which you will need in the ensuing years. If you really cannot resist fighting with your spouse, maybe you are not ready for divorce.
Divorce Rule 2 - Don’t make any quick decisions. Try not to be motivated by feelings of bitterness and anger. Whether you finally decide on counselling or a ruthlessly executed departure (a little like in The Godfather Part II when the family moves to Las Vegas), a bit of thought can help you do it better.
Planning will help you to carefully list the assets to identify and secure anything that is not nailed down such as bank accounts (I am assuming that you may not be the only one in your marriage who is thinking about divorce).
Divorce Rule 3 - Do speak to your lawyer before doing anything. At a time when you are too emotionally involved to make rational decisions, lawyers are a disinterested party (in some cases you may feel they are a little too disinterested, so choose carefully). They can give you the sensible advice that you need.
There is one question that every prospective divorcee asks - “Is divorce expensive?” The answer could be, “Only if it is done right”, so choose your lawyer carefully.
Was there a Mrs Sun Tzu? With advice such as fight only when critical and not in anger it doesn’t sound like it.