Lessons From the Divorce Lawyer – Visit 1
To be honest, I’m a little embarrassed to talk about my first meeting with The Divorce Lawyer.
All I can say in my defense is: What did I know? Luckily I had a no nonsense lawyer who set me straight very quickly and saved me a fortune. In fact I think I’ve blocked it all from my memory… The other day I was listening to a friends legal meeting and it all came rushing back.
So it starts!
Firstly, I don’t think I really wanted a divorce. After all, a divorce? Me? Never! How could I even utter the word out loud? Would I stammer? So, you may ask what was I doing in The Divorce Lawyer’s office? Well let’s just say, my lawyer wanted to know the very same thing. I explained my long story, the abbreviated version of course spoken at 60 words a minute as I had just received the information sheet outlining the hourly charge. The need to justify my entire life up until that point was very strong and the response… a thundering “Do you want a medal? ”
Twenty minutes and two lessons! Number 1: D I V O R C E – spell it, say it out loud, get over it. Happens to the best people. Lesson Number 2 – your divorce lawyer is not your psychologist. You need to work with the facts, those that relate to the current question, not talk about your parenting skills, your communication skills (or lack thereof!) etc. If you want someone to bitch and moan to try a friend or counselor!
I couldn’t stop there. I had 10 more minutes and enough time for another doosy! It went something like. “Well I don’t know how I’m going to do all this. Telling my parents I’m getting a divorce could possibly kill them, so, ummm, well …” She stood up, shaking her head, dumbfounded, looking every bit like Diana, goddess of the hunt, and boomed “Are you kidding? I’m divorced; I told my parents – they’re fine”. I felt like a wounded doe.
Okay, I was forty-five, mother of three teenagers, businesswoman, CEO – but in that moment, in that divorce lawyer office about to dissolve my white picket fence dreams, I was lost, scared and miserable. Lesson Number 3: Get over it – there is no shame in divorce. The people that love us want us to be happy, not live in misery. (And if they don’t love us – who cares what they think?)
Since that first meeting – which I did survive, I’ve learnt a few more lessons!
Lesson 4: Work out as much as you can with your ex. The more you can resolve with them – the faster and cheaper the process is! That means more money in your pocket and less in the lawyers’.
Lesson 5: Take notes – lots! Walk into the meeting with notes and walk out with the answers jotted down. Sometimes I couldn’t even remember my kids’ names, (well okay I couldn’t match the kid and the name!), so it was nigh on impossible remembering the result of a long discussion.
Lesson 6: In your gut, if you feel that something isn’t right, moral or ethical don’t ever let your lawyer talk you into it. No matter what! (That was not a lesson from my lawyer!) To the same end be 100% honest with your lawyer.
Lawyer visits are often tough and emotive. Remember to leave yourself time afterward to unwind. A walk, coffee with a friend or even just sitting in the car listening to music for ten minutes will give you much needed down time!
“Divorce is one of the most financially traumatic things you can go through. Money spent on getting mad or getting even is money wasted” Richard Wagner