Thursday, June 1, 2017

Don't Be a Lone Ranger!

When you're going through a divorce, even using Collaborative Law, it's sometimes frustrating.  It may seem like things are moving too slow or too fast, or that things aren't going your way and your spouse if getting whatever he or she wants.

Sometimes, it feels like you don't have any control over your own life. You may feel like the attorneys and other professionals are micro-managing your life, but this isn't your old life anymore.  You are transitioning out of marriage into a single life again.  You will be in limbo while the divorce is pending.  Your spouse is also in limbo.

A good way to handle frustration during a divorce is to talk with your attorney.  You can also engage a private counselor for yourself and over time, that can be very helpful.

Some people, however, choose a less helpful path.  They let their frustration build to a point where they decide to take unilateral action. That can upset their spouse and possibly derail the Collaborative process.

Here are some bad moves that you should not make:
  • Start dating while the divorce is pending.  That's always a bad idea.  Please wait.  It will likely be very upsetting to your spouse, and you will probably add issues about reimbursement for wasting community funds on dating.
  • Suddenly move.  Without notice.  It's worse if there are kids involved.  Even without kids, there are obvious financial ramifications. It probably violates agreements already in place.
  • Take an expensive vacation. You are probably spending community funds and your spouse will probably be unhappy. That makes the process much more difficult to complete.
  • Buy a house.  Without an agreement to spend community funds, there's a major problem.  If there are children, a new house can upset school and other plans.  It can also cause ripples through all the financial issues.
  • Change schools without an agreement.  When parents are not in agreement, this can cause very serious problems and possibly end the Collaborative process.
  • Take a new job.  That can be good or bad. It will certainly change the financial equation.  Even though it's your life, it will create more good will if you discuss the change with everyone in advance.
  • Clean out a bank account.  That can be considered an act of war.  Don't do it.  If you need funds, have a discussion.  If you think your spouse might try to take the money, you need to have a basic discussion about whether the two of you want to us the Collaborative process.
  • Make children's plans that infringe on the other parent's time.  Be respectful with your spouse/co-parent.  The children don't need to be put in the middle of fights between the two parents.  Find a way to work together for the kids' sake. Work with the mental health professional to compromise on sharing the time with the children.

If you get seriously frustrated, please talk with your attorney.  He or she can help you put things in perspective.  Part of the problem may be expectations and your attorney can help you have realistic expectations about how the Collaborative divorce process will work in your case.You can also work with the mental health professional or financial professional to resolve some of the issues.

Whatever you do, don't give up on the process. Please talk with one of the professionals!