The Second Most Important Decision You’ll Ever Make

The Second Most Important Decision You’ll Ever Make

The Second Most Important Decision You’ll Ever Make

It’s the romantic line in an intense RomCom – this is the most important decision you’ll ever make.

Of course, in that context, the actor is likely referring to the decision to marry someone. I’m well-versed in what may be the second most important decision you’ll ever make: choosing a divorce lawyer.

Yeah, it’s a bit sour grapes to put these two ideas together, but I got your attention, didn’t I? And even more importantly, both statements are true.

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Choosing a Life Partner

Many people marry when they are young and idealistic. Choosing a life partner at that stage can be a crap shoot. Maybe it works out, and maybe it doesn’t. It takes a lot of hard work and an enduring commitment from both partners.

What long-time married folks will tell you is that a more important decision than whom you marry is the decision you make every morning when you open your eyes and glance over at the snoring lump in the bed beside you: the decision to look for the good in your partner every day to ensure that you stay married, and enjoy doing so.

When to Choose a Divorce Lawyer

Unfortunately, many people have not gotten the memo on this important decision. Successful marriages are not made by romance or luck or choosing well. They’re made by overlooking the things that annoy you about your spouse and focusing instead on the qualities you appreciate about them.

When you can no longer do this, it’s time to make another important decision: choose a divorce lawyer to walk alongside you through the process of ending your marriage.

So, how do you make that right choice? With four easy steps:

Ask for referrals.

Friends, family, colleagues, neighbors. Ask around for recommendations of family law attorneys hired by people you trust. When they give you a name and a number, ask more questions – what, exactly, did you like about this person? What do they do well? What is NOT their expertise?

Decide on your divorce path.

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This requires research and knowledge. Do you want a Collaborative Divorce? Litigation? Mediation? The most amicable divorce on the planet? Your chosen approach will lead you to people who specialize in practicing the way you want to go. And while you’re researching, check out the credentials and reviews of the lawyers referred to you. Anyone with a besmirched reputation should be crossed off the list.

Conduct interviews.

While your best friend might have loved her attorney, you might find out that the personality doesn’t match yours once you meet. Most attorneys will give free consultations where you can try each other on for size, and see if you’ll work well together. Take advantage of this, and take your time will doing so. Once you lock in on something, it can be gazelle-intense into the process.

Set a budget.

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I’m the first to admit, legal representation is not a cheap endeavor. Be realistic with yourself and your potential attorney regarding how much you have to spend. This can be an important deciding factor that determines what path you take or whom you hire.

Are you looking for a family law attorney? Set up a free consultation with me, and we’ll see if it’s a fit!

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Friends Caught in the Middle

Friends Caught in the Middle

Friends Caught in the Middle

A woman called the other day to ask if she handled a situation correctly.

A couple she and her husband are friends with are divorcing, and the husband was lying to the wife about being out of town when really, he was hanging out at the bar with this woman’s husband. When the friend found out, she decided she had to tell the wife the truth.

So she made the call.

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Understandably, the wife’s reaction was shock, hurt and blame – she blamed the woman calling her with the bad news instead of blaming her untrustworthy husband.

The woman wondered if she did the right thing. Can you keep both spouses as friends post-divorce?

If you know the husband, who initiated the divorce, has already found a new flame, do you let the wife know? Or keep quiet?

And in the end, although this woman and her husband have been friends as couples with the couple splitting up, can they realistically remain friends with both former spouses once the divorce is official? Or will they have to choose?

The woman was feeling guilt for a variety of reasons: because her friend was hurting, because a couple in their friend group was splitting and affecting the entire friend group, because she knew information that the unsuspecting wife did not, because the husband was truly being a jerk.

And then she felt guilt because her friend lashed out at her, instead of at the information, at the wayward husband, which of course is a safer reaction. She knows her friend will remain her friend. As her husband turns her life upside down, the woman, who had never worked outside the home, grabbed at reactionary straws to help maintain some kind of order in her emotions, by blaming the messenger, instead of the message.

Unfortunately, I don’t have good news on this topic. I’ve seen too many times that it is highly unlikely that you will remain friends with both people in a couple when that couple breaks up.

In theory, sure, why not? In theory, we are all humans with emotions and we can relate on a very human level with each divorcing spouse.

But loyalty is another matter in practice, and people are incredibly vulnerable when going through a divorce. That vulnerability deepens when they begin to lose friends and peer groups, too.

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People going through divorce are shedding one life and building a new one – whether or not they want to. Anything or anyone that reminds them of the hurt and sadness will probably get the boot.

It’s like a caterpillar shedding its cocoon to become a butterfly. It never crawls back into the cocoon.

And like that, we must move forward to inhabit our new lives fully, with fondness for the good elements of the past and the wisdom that brighter futures lie ahead.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if you tell the friend the truth or not. Divorce is a process of dissolution, and you may be collateral along the way. That means we all have to deal with the emotions that a breakup generates. No matter on which side we end up.

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