If getting married is considered a major life event, then going through a divorce is certainly just as major. Experts estimate that around 50% of first marriages end up in divorce, and the rate is even higher for second marriages. Divorce is often seen as a stressful time for the couple and their families, especially when there are children in the equation.
According to Hargrave Family Law, a firm serving Texas' Dallas-Fort Worth region, divorce doesn't have to result in total destruction of a family. Founded in 2017 by family and collaborative law expert Jennifer Stanton Hargrave, the firm envisions its clients and the other party coming out of a divorce with hope, and it hopes to arrive at this by finding creative solutions by minimizing conflict and prioritizing the client's interests and goals.
Hargrave says that it approaches a divorce case by finding out the client's vision for their future. People don't always have that vision, especially when caught up in the stress and emotions of their present situation.
“You can have a divorce that is consistent with your values, and you don't have to change who you are in the divorce process. A lot of times, they've lost their ability to dream. So we help them focus on the life that they want in building that picture. In a way, we start to empower them from the very beginning to make decisions that will lead them to where they want to be,” she says.
Hargrave was licensed to practice law in 1995, but she was hesitant to enter family law and went into civil law. This changed in 2006, when she found out about a process known as collaborative law, which focuses on consensual and mutual agreement rather than oppositional litigation. Since then, she has exclusively practiced in the family sphere.
“However, we don't just do collaborative. We also handle complex litigated divorce matters because sometimes having a litigated divorce is unavoidable. If one side wants a fight, then there's going to be a fight. And we have to be able to help people through that process, as well.”
Hargrave says couples undergoing divorce should focus on peaceful resolution, despite the legal system’s tendency to exacerbate conflict.
“It's important to prevent the matter from devolving into a tit for tat, where the focus is on depriving the other party rather than achieving one's goals. If it reaches that point, people often end up betraying themselves, and that has longer term consequences. I believe there are more long term benefits of being true to yourself and your values, which will make for a good quality of life after the divorce proceedings are over.”
Hargrave offers 10 tips on how married people can avoid a disastrous divorce and move on with hope.
Start with being clear with your values
It is important to know what is really important to you, because this will be your starting point in the divorce. Also, remember that the divorce shouldn't be the defining feature of your life, and that it is merely a phase towards the next stage of your life.
Find an advocate that align with your values and will help you achieve those goals
Partnering with the right lawyer or firm is important before launching into proceedings. Ensure that the professionals you're working with share your goal of having an amicable divorce.
If you are the one initiating the divorce, there should be conversations leading up to it
Springing the divorce papers on your partner out of the blue can blindside them and lead to hurt emotions. Starting with counseling can perhaps pave the way for a more constructive conversation around the divorce.
Stay focused on your goals once the process has started
It's easy to get sidetracked by a nasty letter from an opposing attorney, which can throw everybody off-kilter. If the proceedings are not going exactly the way you want, consult with your legal team about what your options are along the way to remain focused.
Learn about mediation
Most cases are resolved through mediation, which is an important, non-adversarial tool that should always remain an option. The spouses work with a neutral third party to reach an agreement that takes into consideration their unique family circumstances.
Create a support system during the process
It is important to engage in meaningful activities, such as hobbies and spending time with friends and family, as divorce can be mentally and emotionally draining. Having a “full cup” is important when tackling such a life-changing event.
Only take advice from the professionals
With a highly intricate matter such as divorce, it is important to take legal and financial advice only from trusted professionals. While friends and relatives often mean well and there's an abundance of information on the internet, this information is often misguided and misinformed.
Take the opportunity to learn new skills
Each major life event is an opportunity to learn and improve yourself, and divorce is no different. By going through this phase, you can learn more effective communication and improve your conflict resolution skills.
Learn how to navigate conflict
People that are attracted to the idea of an amicable divorce can mistake compromise for abdication or sacrifice. Don't be a doormat – giving up too much to placate the other person does not give lasting peace. Learning how to advocate for your goals and interests in a constructive manner is a life skill that will be very beneficial beyond the divorce.
Focus on the best interest of the children
If there are children, don't use them as bargaining chips. They need to know that they will continue to be loved, and create a co-parenting system, if possible. However, if there is abusive or dangerous behavior in the household, the children's safety should take the top priority.
Name: Skye MacLaren
Email: [email protected]
Original Source of the original story >> Hargrave Family Law Reveals How to Avoid a Disastrous Divorce