I tell every client that meets with me the same thing – and the result is normally a nervous chuckle. “You can pay to send my kids to college, or you can keep your money and send your own kids to college.” And the result is typically the same – people want to save money, people want to avoid unnecessary battles, and people want to do what is best for their children. However, many times people enter into the divorce process with the best of intentions and they walk out of the process the participant of an atomic war….and it can be avoided.
Make Simple Disclosures
An atomic war can be avoided and an uncontested divorce can often be attained with simple disclosures. Yet so often, clients are hesitant to disclose anything to their spouses in fear that it might be used against them in litigation. Clients want to avoid telling their spouse they met with a lawyer, that they had an affair, or that there is $50,000 of credit card debt. However, even the most basic discovery will reveal all that information – at a large cost emotionally and financially. The result of a spouse failing to disclose such basic information typically leads to a path of distrust and pessimism which fuels legal positioning and skyrocketing fees.
Share the Decision Making
Another way to avoid an atomic war and maintain an uncontested divorce is to share the decision making of a divorce with your spouse. Often times, if one spouse controls the path of the divorce, the other spouse feels powerless and tries to gain power by asserting themselves with legal maneuvering. One simple solution to this problem would be to ask your spouse simple questions about how they want to proceed in the divorce. “Do you want to do this divorce peacefully or through litigation?” “Do you want to sign a waiver or do you want me to serve you?” “Do you want to gather these documents together or do you want our lawyers to do it independently?” Sharing in these simple decisions helps both parties feel in control of the process, and when people feel like they have control, they typically make more rational decisions.
Consult with an Attorney
Simple disclosures and shared decision making can go a long way in the divorce process. As always, before deciding what path is best for you, you should always discuss your options and goals with a Dallas divorce attorney who is trained to deal with peaceful divorces as well as highly contentious divorces…and hopefully an attorney that doesn’t need you to fund their children’s college education.