Divorce: Time for a Reality Check

Apr 15, 2009

Divorce is not only a time for change, but it is often a time for a reality check.  For many people, life just cannot continue the way it has been.  Many couples are living well-beyond their financial means – subsidizing their lifestyles with credit cards and having a difficult time maintaining one household.  It becomes impossible to maintain two households without making serious changes in spending habits.  For couples who have had the luxury of keeping one parent at home with the kids – the cold hard truth is unless your soon-to-be-ex is a (still employed) CEO of a large company continuing to be a stay-at-home parent is not an option.

As an attorney, one of the first steps I take is to give my client a reality check.  I need to know what the current financial situation is, and what the plan for the future is.  I need to help my client deal with his/her desire to be vindictive, and assist my client with getting out of a victim mentality (neither of these emotions are helpful in the divorce process).  I also need to give my client reasonable expectations on the likely outcome of the case.  As frustrating as it can be to have an attorney who will make you face reality and tell you things that you do not want to hear, I feel it is necessary in order to keep my client’s legal fees reasonable and to help my client through the process.  Beware of an attorney who only tells you what you want to hear – that attorney may play into your emotions and cause your divorce to be longer, more complicated, and more expensive than necessary.