This helpful article is from Susan Gamache’s website http://susangamache.com/whenintimaterelationshipends/generalinformationandideas
Top 10 Ways to Stay Out of Court:
1. Work to avoid contributing to unnecessary conflict and to reducing it when it occurs. Conflict is expensive both in terms of money and relationships.
2 . Inform yourself about ALL your process choices. Court is the most coercive and invasive approach. It is not the most common.
3. Consider using a Collaborative Relationship Coach. If you are having trouble communicating with your spouse about the separation, there is something you can do. If what you are doing is not working, you can have some support and professional assistance to do something different. Even if your spouse is not willing to work with a coach, you can still get support, information and new ideas this way.
4. Your choice of lawyer will have a major impact on the type of process you have, how much your children are negatively affected and how much it will cost. I help many clients chose a lawyer appropriate for their situation and to understand the significant consequences of their choice. If you need a lawyer, try a Collaborative lawyer first. You can always retain a litigation lawyer later if you need to.
5. Identify something you found attractive about your partner when you first met. Remember that as unpleasant as it may feel right now, you and your partner chose each other. Find something you can trust about your spouse.
6. Remember that the children need their parenting relationships as a primary emotional container for their childhood and their developing emotional systems and sense of themselves. The quality of their relationships with their parents and the level of conflict in their family are major determinants of their current and future well being.
7. Keep your children’s lives going as normally as possible. Try to make sure that their activities and important family traditions continue with as much flow and grace as possible even if this means that Mom and Dad may not be participating at the same time.
8. Keep doing positive things in your own life. Work against the divorce process taking you over. Learn some relaxation techniques and put them into practice daily. Get some exercise everyday.
9. If your friends or family are vilifying your spouse, tell them, “Thank you for trying to help. I know you love me and are trying to protect me. What would be really helpful is … “(and then tell them what really would be helpful to you to get through the tasks ahead as calmly as possible.)
10. What will the legacy of your divorce be for your children?
Remember that as you go through the process of separation and divorce, you are writing the story of your children’s parents’ divorce. Ask yourself, â€œWhat do I want my children to be saying about this 5, 10, 20 years from now?â€ Eventually it will all be distilled down to ‘the story of my parents divorce’. You are creating that story now.