10 Jul How to have a good divorce — tips from a divorce lawyer
If you’ve had a marriage break down, you might feel like a ‘good divorce’ is simply impossible. There are so many decisions to be made, in relation to finances, property and children. And it’s so easy for these important conversations to become heated arguments when emotions are involved.
Leisa Toomey, from Toomey Family Law, has given us some fantastic insight in episode 1 of her podcast, Fortified: Lessons on Love & Divorce, on how it is possible to work towards a ‘good’ divorce. And it’s worth putting in the work to ease everyone into the ‘new normal’ on the other side.
Here are Leisa’s expert tips on how to have a good divorce.
How to have a good divorce – tips from an expert divorce lawyer.
Remain focussed on the end goal
We know that going through a divorce can be one of the most emotional and difficult periods in someone’s life. It’s easy to lose focus. But Leisa says, ‘I think that’s one of the problems with a bad divorce. There’s just not a lot of focus.’
The ability to remain calm and focused through the process will help you to navigate each step of the process. And you’ll be able to achieve your goals more quickly and easily.
Continue to communicate
In Leisa’s experience, a common feature in ‘bad’ divorces is that the parties stop communicating with each other. To use a boxing analogy, she says, ‘Each party goes into their “fighting corners”. They think that’s where they need to be.’
Instead, Leisa says they need to ‘come out of their corners and start talking’.
So, rather than focusing on fighting, focus on communicating and managing the divorce process as best you can. This could mean finding alternative ways to communicate. If face-to-face talking isn’t working, you might try regular emails.
Leisa says it might also mean using the family law processes that are available to you to try and reach common ground, such as mediation or arbitration. She says, ‘These alternatives might help you resolve matters, rather than heading off into a very lengthy, ugly court process.’
Be respectful and considerate
In all your communications, try to remain respectful and considerate of your former partner. Leisa also mentions it’s a good idea to recognise that your interactions with your ex-partner will look different now because your dynamic will have changed.
She says, ‘You may have been the go-to decision maker in the relationship. And your ex-partner may have been the one who always deferred to you. But that relationship is no longer…. Your ex-partner now has other influences in their life that are assisting in making decisions and they aren’t going to want to listen to you in that process. That is a shock to some people.’
Leisa says it helps to understand that the decision-making process will have changed now, and to take that into account when interacting in a respectful and considerate way with your former partner.
This is especially important to do when you’re trying to resolve sensitive or emotional matters. And it’s vital if you have children because your ex-partner will always be part of your life. The more respectful you are with each other, the happier your future blended family will be.
Stay away from theatrics and drama
It’s very easy to get caught up in the raw emotions of a divorce. But it’s important that you don’t attach yourself to the theatrics or the drama. It’s also important that you’re working with a lawyer that focuses on the legal matters at hand – and doesn’t become emotionally engaged in the process.
Leisa knows this all too well from her own experience appearing in Family Court against dramatic opposing counsel. But in her experience (which she shares in detail in her podcast) this doesn’t work. She says that a good family lawyer knows that, ‘I don’t need to yell and scream. All I’ve got to do is make a good case.’
Understand your financials
Leisa says, ‘I’m consistently surprised how people defer all financial matters to the other partner. There could be numerous reasons for that. For instance, someone’s too busy at work, or looking after the children. And so they diversify….
But it’s important that everyone understands what’s happening in their financial structures in their relationship, because you not only have a romantic relationship, believe it or not, you’ve got a business relationship too,’ she said.
If you don’t already understand your finances, get across them as soon as you can. This will help you to have a good, smooth divorce that can be resolved more quickly.
How lawyers can help you to have a good divorce
Television and movie representations of divorce tend to depict aggressive lawyers staring each other down across a table or in a courtroom. At Toomey Family Law, our lawyers are motivated to help our clients through the divorce process as quickly and with as little emotional trauma as possible.
‘As lawyers, you’ve got to have emotional intelligence, so you can understand your client, understand their drivers and know where you need to go. That’s part of the problem-solving of the puzzle. So I’m pretty much dedicated to the idea of understanding my client,’ Leisa said.
When you have a lawyer that is empathetic and spends the time to get to know you, your situation and your drivers, they can get to the heart of your situation. Then they can really help you to take the steps you need to get the outcomes you’re looking for and have a good divorce.
It’s also important you work with a family law specialist for your family law matters. Their expertise in the family law system will help you streamline your process, understand exactly what’s going on and get the best results out of the process.
Leisa says, ‘My advice to clients would be that if you really want to streamline your process and understand exactly what’s going on, then go to a specialist. Because a specialist who does the work day in and day out will understand exactly what’s going on.’
Finding a good family lawyer
Some things Leisa says you should look for in a good family law lawyer when going through a divorce or separation
- They’re a family law specialist
- They correspond in a timely manner
- They share all the information that pertains to your case
- They are unemotional but empathetic
- They encourage you to take steps to have a ‘good’ divorce
- They look to achieve the best possible outcomes for you and your family
Your next step
At Toomey Family Law, we understand that divorce can turn your world upside down. But we also understand how to have a good divorce. Our family lawyers have the legal experience and emotional intelligence to understand your situation and help you through the process easily and smoothly.
As Leisa says, ‘I really like when I can see people come out of their family law matters, and they’ve got a result and they can get on with their lives. And to know that I played a small part in that gives me a sense of joy.’
As our client, we listen to what you want and need and help you to get there as quickly and as inexpensively as possible. Get in touch with us today. We’re here to help!