What do I know about high conflict divorce?

It may surprise you to know that even though I work in this field, my divorce was no different than many of yours. It is so much easier to coach others with their emotions but self-coaching on a highly emotional subject matter is near impossible. Part of the issue was our attorneys. I didn't hire an attorney until he decided not to respond to the pleadings. I felt that an attorney would move the process along faster and easier. It worked but with a cost. Most attorneys are adversarial and mine was no different. So when both of our attorneys thought they were helping us settle our issues and divorce; they were really adding gas to the flame. Thanks to my experience in this field I was able to make reasonable decisions where I could see that my attorney would not be able to. In a way, having those attorneys there to be the bad guys made my process a little easier. With some time and assistance from a wise Judge, we were able to resolve our issues and become officially divorced. If I explained how impossible my circumstances were in the first place, you would have thought the settlement was a miracle. I certainly did. That said, here are some pointers or take-aways I'd like to impart:

1- Make sure you have wise, objective, and supportive people in your corner. Someone who can call you out if it seems like you might be a little petty.

2- Make sure that you do not settle for something that you do not feel comfortable with in your gut. Everything is negotiable. Things are not cut and dry. You can get creative with settlement agreements and if you feel like you need more money but there isn't any, negotiate to receive something else instead that has equal value.

3- Do not let anyone bully you into a decision. Not even a Judge. Once you sign or orally agree on record, it is near impossible to change it. You can take a break whenever you want usually. Think about it whatever proposal has you feeling uneasy. Call a lifeline. Whatever you do, do not act impulsively.

4- Be forward thinking. When considering these proposals from the other side, think about how it will pan out in the future, if applicable. You can make monetary deals that are progressive or that happen over a period of time. If the other side doesn't have the money now, make an agreement for the money to be paid monthly or annually.

5- Know when to hold em, and know when to fold em. Wise words from Mr. Kenny Rogers. If there is a proposal you have on the table that is not getting any traction, re-frame it or revise it and then re-propose it. If that doesn't work, you may need to move on unless you feel extremely strong about it and then refer to paragraph 3.

I hope something there was helpful. Cheers!

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