How to survive divorce the right way

Surviving divorce the right way means the difference between a good outcome and years of being stuck in the system with no end in sight.  Here are a few tips on how to survive divorce the right way. 

(1). Understand your goals.  The direction your divorce will take and how much it will cost depends on you and your goals.  You control where your case goes and the cost of your case.  Think about what kind of a person you are and what matters to you.  Write down your goals and discuss them with the lawyer at the first meeting. 

(2). The first meeting with a divorce lawyer.  Many lawyers can do the job.  At the same time, your lawyer must be a person you trust because you will be sharing sensitive information about yourself. Comfort level will be important.  Start your research early. First, look up the lawyer on the California State Bar website.  Next, read the lawyer’s website. You will get a feel of what this person is like from the first thing this person talks about. If you look at online reviews, be objective and keep in mind that they are not always reliable.  Pay attention to how easy it is to set up an appointment with the lawyer and to communicate with the office.  During your first meeting, discuss your goals and listen to how the lawyer offers to solve your problem.  Getting a second opinion is a good idea.  You will have to pay for the time of lawyer 2 (and lawyer 3), but the cost is justified to make sure you are making the right choice.

(3). Ask lots of questions.  If you don’t understand something, ask the same question as many times as you need.  Communication is important for working together and achieving a successful outcome.

(4). Use experts only when needed.  Experts are costly.  The cost of every action should always be weighed against the potential benefit.

(5). Don’t change lawyers unless you have to.  Sometimes people just can’t work together.  If you change lawyers, do so for a good reason.  Keep in mind, however, that changing lawyers ends up costing you more because your new lawyer has to review the case.  If you change lawyers too often, a reputable lawyer may not want to take your case.  The judge may also not look at it favorably.

(6). Keep emotions under control.  Emotions will get their way.  Seek a safe place to talk about how you feel. You can talk to your divorce lawyer about how you feel too, but don’t let how you feel get in the way of your decision-making ability.  Make decisions when you are ready.  Bring a support person to meetings with your lawyer if you need to.

(7). Follow advice.  You hired your San Jose divorce lawyer for a very good reason.  Hopefully, you discussed your goal with your lawyer on day 1 and got a realistic assessment.  Part of the job is telling you things you may not agree with.  If your lawyer gives you advice, you should follow it, even if you may not agree.  Following advice will also help you do things right from the start.  Do what your lawyer tells you right from the start because that is when your case is likely to be determined.

(8). Consider reasonable settlement offers.  Litigation is expensive and the outcome is uncertain.  Your divorce lawyer doesn’t control the outcome.  When we go to court, we place our lives in the hands of a third party.  Consider all reasonable settlement offers.   A reasonable settlement means that you are in control of your life.


Written by Ekaterina Berman, a San Jose divorce and family immigration lawyer. My goal is to provide experienced and caring representation in family law matters to every client

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