We 鈥檝 e all seen the hard hitting divorce lawyers who tell their clients that they will fight to the death and emerge victorious 鈥?no matter the cost. And sometimes that cost can literally decimate your bank account 鈥?and your spirit. In my 25 years as a divorce mediation attorney (I now practice in Walnut Creek, CA), I 鈥檝 e seen a lot of heartache. Much of that heartache is attributable to the misguided belief that the adversarial process works, and that letting your attorney navigate that process on your behalf will somehow work toward a good outcome. In fact, entering that traditional adversarial process in which you 鈥渓 et your attorney handle it 鈥?is really the first and probably the worst step you can take when you are faced with a divorce -- if your goal is to retain your money, your sanity and any shred of a relationship with your future ex-spouse. In fact, there are 5 big mistakes you can make that will cost you time, money, and peace of mind. Mistake # 1: Letting your attorney handle it. When you cede control of your divorce to your attorney, this actually sets you on a pathway for a protracted and expensive process that rarely has a win-win outcome for you or your spouse. Both you and your spouse need to be actively engaged in the divorce process to bring about a viable outcome that will work for your lives moving forward. And no attorney, no matter how good he or she is, knows better than you what is best for you, your spouse, and your children. Mistake # 2: When you hire an adversarial lawyer, you unwittingly rely on a court system and a judge to decide fairly 鈥?an unrealistic expectation at best. No court or judge knows better than you what is best for you, your spouse or your children. Mistake # 3: Fighting with your spouse as if you have to win and your spouse has to lose. Research and divorce statistics show that when you and your spouse set yourselves on a win-at-all-costs pathway, you waste time, money, and valuable energy that could be directed to your mutual healing and building a future that holds the promise of joy and stability. Mistake # 4: Putting your children in the middle of your divorce by asking them carry messages between you and your spouse. When you are in an adversarial process with your spouse, there are no open lines of communication, which unwittingly puts your children in the awkward and often damaging position of being message-delivers. Mistake # 5: Expecting to get everything you want. No one ever gets everything they want in life. It 鈥檚 as true for divorce as it is for any other experience in life. When you stop expecting to get everything you want and work with your spouse to get what you need and what your spouse needs, you will find a pathway through your divorce. Until then, you are burning time, money and the future emotional health of your family. So how can you avoid these mistakes? Consider a pathway that seeks shared knowledge and collaboration instead of an adversarial process that mandates a fight where both you and your spouse will ultimately lose. This may mean hiring a neutral third party mediator to work with you and your spouse. If this is not viable, consider the collaborative practice model in which you and your spouse each retain an attorney 鈥?and all four of you agree to a set of ground rules and a collaborative process that can help facilitate a win-win agreement. In a collaborative practice or mediation model you and your spouse agree to avoid court altogether by working in real time toward solutions, instead of fighting about the past. Divorce attorneys who do mediation and collaborative practice have the training to help you navigate this difficult journey with a dignity and purpose that will benefit your entire family by eliminating the win/lose paradigm. We replace that old paradigm with a process in which we reach an agreement that works for both you. With an experienced and well-trained collaborative practice expert, you can cover a lot of ground: financial issues including child custody and child support, parenting schedules, medial insurance coverage, property division, possible tax consequences, spousal support, to name only a few. Collaborative practice, in particular, basically pulls from the principles that guide all good conflict resolution: 1) you agree to forgo the traditional adversarial proceedings 2) you don 鈥檛 set out to capitalize on the mistakes of your spouse 3) you agree to get everything out in the open 4) you agree to keep appropriate information confidential 4) and you 鈥檒 l agree to treat your spouse as you would want to be treated. If you live in Walnut Creek, Contra Costa or Alameda counties, San Ramon, or anywhere in the Tri-Valley area, consider the benefit of a collaborative model divorce. We truly believe that our model will help to heal your life. Please visit me, the mediation attorney walnut creek. I am sure that I am the Walnut Creek divorce attorney for you. When you have satisfied yourself of the same, call me at 925-932-7026. At traditional adversarial divorce often sets clients up to make the 5 mistakes that cost time and money. Choose the lawyer who knows how to help you avoid them.
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