Fortunately for most of us, our divorces are not worthy of any media coverage but that doesn’t mean they can’t get as nasty as some celebrity divorces. If you’re in the beginning stages of divorce, trying to figure out which legal process will work best for your situation, you may be asking yourself, “Will my divorce turn into a legal battle?“
Divorce for my present guest, Lisa Thomson did turn into a long, drawn-out affair. Lisa moved out in 2005 and the final legal resolution didn’t come until 2012. Even with the legal fights, Lisa doesn’t regret her decision. Facing the conflict she says has made her stronger. Here’s Lisa:
I was officially divorced in 2008. I’m going to say late 2008, because we went to trial and the judgment didn’t come out until 2009. Then, my ex-husband appealed that decision.
He wanted to challenge the spousal support and child support and got a different lawyer, filed an appeal. So, part of 2009 was dealing with that appeal and that was heard in September 2009. Then, that decision didn’t come out until, I think it was November 1. So, late in 2009 we got a new decision. Then, that process dragged out further after that, because I didn’t go back and appeal, but I did challenge some of the issues that were in the judgment with the spousal support and the child support.
We finally actually settled everything, like the whole divorce was finally settled in May 2012.
That was just a written agreement. We didn’t actually legally get everything done until mid-September 2012, as far as the settlement goes.
In the end, I did get child support and spousal support for a period of time, so that really helped. You can’t really function without it, to be honest.
The spousal support was for a limited period. It’s not designed for life. They take a lot of variables into consideration. If you are an older woman, say you were 65 and you suddenly found yourself divorced, they do take your age into consideration. So, at that age it’s going to be a little harder for you to get back into work and to take up something new, whatever you have to do, if you’ve been out of the workforce during the marriage. So, in that case they may say, “You’re getting spousal support for life.” They might say “until death” basically.
There are some situations where they will make that support permanent but in my situation at my age, I was healthy, I was still fairly young.
It’s been quite the process. I know it was the beginning of June when I moved out, so 2005, so it’s coming up nine years that I actually initiated the process.
I feel like a completely different person, to be honest. I’m just way stronger, way happier, way more confident. So, in spite of the challenges and the difficulties, it’s certainly been worth it and it’s just made me a stronger person.
The Divorce Coach Says:
Whether you should pursue legal action or settle a financial issue with your STBX is an individual decision very dependent on the facts of your specific circumstance but I do believe it’s best answered through a realistic cost-benefit analysis.
Basically it comes down to how much will you save/gain if the outcome is favorable to you versus how much will you have to spend to get that outcome.
Of course it’s never that simple or straightforward but start by educating yourself on the law that will apply to you for child support, spousal support or division of the specific asset. Estimates on legal fees are difficult because there are so many variables so I suggest asking your attorney for a best case scenario and a worst case and do ask for a timeframe. Then you also have to take into account the probability of a favorable outcome because there are no guarantees. Bear in mind that your STBX presumably wouldn’t be fighting you if their attorney wasn’t telling them that they have a good case for their argument.
You need to do this analysis at the outset and you need to reassess it periodically and yes, you will have take into consideration your ability to pay the legal fees.
The very worst thing you can do is to make a decision to pursue legal action based on your emotions, such as “it’s unfair” or because you’re angry or hurt. You’re better off approaching this as a business arrangement. If you’re having trouble thinking this through, deciding if the legal fees are a good investment in your future then ask a couple of your trusted friends to help you. Choose your friends who are good, rational, objective thinkers. Some basic math skills also come in handy. Your friends who are outraged by your STBX’s proposal or behavior are probably not the people for this job. This is also something that a divorce coach can help you evaluate and if you’d like to talk to me more about this, please contact me to set up free 30-minute consult.
BTW … just to be clear, this is not how you evaluate child custody or parenting time issues. There the overriding consideration has to be the safety and well-being of your child.
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