Bucks County Divorce Process 101
As a family law attorney, I can attest to the sometimes arduous and seemingly endless divorce process required to get that decree in my clients’ hands. No two cases are the same, but generally, divorce clients want to be divorced. Many ask when it will “be over with”. This tells me two things: a) everyone just wants their proceedings to end; but there’s also, b) no one wants to relent when it comes to their kids or their money. Understanding that item B can be very hard to overcome, I try to navigate my clients down a path that forces tough but smart decisions for the long term.
The secret? Choose the path requiring as little involvement of the courts as possible.
Many clients want to take as much action as possible to be proactive during the divorce process – file motions, write letters to make their point. This can leave clients emotionally (and financially) bankrupt. Sometimes, motion practice and letter writing are just the nature of the beast; however, the more you and your spouse can discuss on your own, the better off you will be.
Your budget: Clearly, the obvious benefit hits your wallet. Court costs big bucks. Filing fees, copying fees and preparation time can evolve into a massive invoice. You should still consider every avenue for protecting the rights of yourself and your family, but where frivolity and misguided “principle” are concerned, use your discretion and maintain a rapport with your lawyer.
Your health: Experts have found that the pain of dealing with divorce is similar to grieving the death of a loved one. Don’t exacerbate this emotional state by fanning the flames and dragging your ex to court over negotiable issues. Conversely, it is important to maintain solidarity with your attorney and stand strong against the any legal difficulties you will encounter. Often, it may be the other spouse creating the litigation.
Control: Allowing a Judge to dictate the outcome of your case is not where you want to be during the divorce process. You know yourself, your family, your finances, and your temperament – a Judge can only know the facts available. For Bucks County divorces, once Orders are entered, they are difficult and costly to amend (if at all possible.) Not to mention, you may be setting yourself up for more of those unpleasant invoices from your lawyer.
So if this all sounds like a good idea how do you make it happen?
How – to
Choose the right attorney: Research, research, research. Interview attorneys in your area who focus primarily on the practice of family law. When you go to your first consultation with an attorney, make sure you feel comfortable sharing information. Full disclosure is essential for your attorney to best represent your interests.
Take a list of questions or concerns to focus the conversation on what matters to you. Before you go, look online for an idea of professional standing, recommendations from former clients or peers, and any awards or recognition.
Prioritize: Maintain focus on what is most important and learn to cope with the less favorable, peripheral elements. You may not get everything you want in the manner you hoped for. Talk to your attorney about what is fundamentally important to you. Most clients place emphasis on how the divorce will affect the lives of their children. Research has shown that children do better overall when both parents work together for the benefit of their kids. Staying out of the courtroom will show your children that you are both in control of what happens to their lives once the divorce is finalized.
The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry suggests dialogue to reassure your children they are not the source of the split. Focusing your attention on this goal may distract from other, less important areas of concern.
Balance: Once your priorities are in order – you have mentally arranged deal breakers and concerns – remember to take care of yourself. This process is a means to an end and staying out of the courtroom will require patience and persistence. Focusing too heavily on only one aspect, such as “What happens to the timeshare?” may leave you feeling overwhelmed by the rest of the process. Remain physically active, eat right, and try not to dwell or obsess on the negatives.
Sometimes, it is impossible to stay out of the courtroom and may not be applicable in all cases. However, there are instances where a few minutes of practical communication with your ex can make all the difference. Provide documentation when requested, respond to inquiries, and focus on the process being a means to an end. Above all, choose the right attorney to remain informed of the best solutions to your unique situation.
Attorney Michael Kuldiner practices family law in the suburbs of Philadelphia and is widely recognized for his achievements and insight in the field. To set up a consultation, contact our office at (215) 942-2100.