I have talked a lot about the different aspects of divorce in California, financial aspects, alternative options, parenting in divorce, and preparation, among other topics, but I’ve never written about all those aspects you don’t know about or hear about until you are in the thick of it. Here’s a few of the key things they don’t tell you about divorce:
- It’s going to take a LOT longer and cost a LOT more than you ever imagined. No, longer than that….and even longer than that. Whatever you’ve imagined, add at least 50% more time and money. And this isn’t just attorney fees money, it’s lost wages money (those pesky court appearances), increased debt money, and new expenses money (new blender, new apartment).
- Attorneys – even your attorney – can seem like s/he isn’t on your side. Sometimes this is good, as when you’re hearing the reality of divorce and your attorney is not just telling you what you want to hear (so you’ll be disappointed later), but sometimes it’s bad, as when your attorney is mean or nasty to you.
- Your attorney may not be telling you ways to save money on your divorce. This can vary from attorney to attorney, and it can range from benign oversight to outright malpractice. You have to decide what’s going to work for you, but don’t fail to either get a second opinion or learn at least some law and procedure so you know what questions to ask. The more you fight, the more the lawyers get.
- The system is not fair. It’s not designed to make you feel better or vindicated or right. It’s flawed, and the people involved are flawed, as people are. “Making the judge see your side” is not going to get you your way. What will get you your way is having the facts on your side.
- Your children will act out, misbehave, develop illnesses they never had, and otherwise have a really hard time with the divorce. Instead of blaming your ex-spouse, work with him/her to help your children. You will save them in the short AND long run.
- Your lawyer is not going to be offended if you fire him/her and get another lawyer. Most lawyers welcome the reduction in caseload and “starting over” with a new lawyer is not hard at all.
- Much like #4 above, the legal system is not going to help you at all with the emotional aspects of the divorce. Get a therapist, as soon as you can. Get over it, in your own way and your own time, and not with lawyers, courts and hearings.
- The more you learn/know, the better off you’ll be, regardless of how complicated or contentious your case is, the amount of lawyers’ fees (if any), and how long the process takes.