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Don’t Be a Pushover in a Divorce

To balance some of my advice on this website about being reasonable, it should be noted that I’m not advocating that you not set properly boundaries, that you be a pushover, or that you take a bad deal.  Too often people come into a divorce either too angry or conversely too tired/guilty/whatever to properly fight for what is fair. Being level-headed and somewhere between those extremes is the sweet spot for an optimal divorce settlement. 

Misguided feelings of guilt can be some of the most troublesome emotions in a divorce.  Just because you had an affair doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be allowed to retire someday.  That is not the way the law views it—indeed in most instances New Jersey law takes no position regarding the moral high ground in a divorce. 

Divorce can be a marathon.  Too often people get worn down by the process and end up agreeing to terms they later regret.  That’s why focus and taking care of yourself is so important during a divorce.  You need to be able to put that oxygen mask over your own face first before you can go out and help others such as your children.

If your spouse has long-term serious drug problems, then fight against him having unsupervised parenting time. 

If you have reason to believe your spouse hid a large sum of money in cryptocurrency then let’s hire an expert or take whatever aggressive steps are necessary in discovery to get to the bottom of it. 

There is a difference between being reasonable and being a pushover and it’s a fine-line, to be sure.  Your divorce lawyer can help you understand when you’re being reasonable and when you’re giving in too much.  Sometimes those getting divorced have a hard time setting appropriate boundaries—that is an important part of communication—and often the leading root cause of divorce is a lack of communication or inappropriate communication.

Your children will need you to be strong for them. They are not a party to a divorce but nobody will likely be impacted more. The way you treat the divorce and how you can thereafter will be determinative in the kind of present and future available to your children.

You will get tired during the process—so will the other side. To some extent it is necessary to get worn down to the point when settlement can be reached. But if you start going through the motions or stop caring, then you should consider taking some time, a long weekend, whatever it takes to make sure you’re not making decisions that you’ll live to regret for a long time. Decisions like waiving your right to alimony, accepting less child support than your children are entitled to, giving up custody or parenting time you’re entitled to or waiving your spouse’s requirement to contribute toward your children’s college costs.

            So be reasonable, but don’t be a pushover.