As a divorce lawyer, I am often surprised by the questions I hear from my clients reflecting common misconceptions about divorce that they’ve picked up from friends, relatives and the media.
The most common misconception is that “there is no such thing as a friendly divorce.” In my over 40 years in practice I have been involved in scores of divorces during which the couples have worked out the details of their divorce settlements with a minimum of unpleasantness and bad behavior. What is needed is a mutual commitment to treat each other with consideration and respect and to behave with honesty and integrity. This is especially important when there are children involved, and it is often the couple’s commitment to the mental and spiritual health of their children that inspires their ability to conduct themselves calmly and intelligently. I chose to limit my practice to collaborative divorce because it’s a process that lays the groundwork for successful co-parenting and minimizes post-divorce conflict – and encourages “friendly” divorces.
Another common misconception is that “divorce is outrageously expensive”. I must admit that some divorces can be, but whether it is or not is in the hands of the divorcing couple. The more they cooperate with each other – in determining what information they need to have about their property and debts, in gathering records, and exploring options for settlement – the less they will spend on the adversarial assistance of their attorneys, which can be extremely expensive if it’s spent fighting at the courthouse. Collaborative divorce utilizes neutral team members – financial professionals and mental health professionals – to assist couples in reaching agreements that meet both of their long and short-term goals and interests without breaking the bank. I recommend the process whether the clients are millionaires or hourly workers.