Unfortunately, just about everyone knows someone who has, is or will soon be going through a divorce. Your mate won’t always get this advice from his lawyer, so here’s our five top tips to help you help your best mate if he or she is unfortunate enough to go through one.
It’s about the kids
Remind them to be rational
Make sure your mate doesn’t settle for a lawyer who’ll just agree with them in order to win their business. The bottom line is that there’s really no winners in a divorce, and usually both sides walk away thinking they’ve been shafted. The best way to ‘win’ at a divorce is to make sure you don’t pay tens of thousands of dollars to your lawyers. Sometimes even picking up the ‘phone and talking to a lawyer is hard to do is stressful, so if you’re a really good mate feel free to call some lawyers for your friend, and ‘suss them out yourself. A good lawyer will be happy to take your call or you mate’s call, spend the time understanding the situation, identifying the issues, and giving a realistic estimate of what it is going to cost and why. It’s also important, during the process, to remind your mate not to make decisions in anger, but be rational and consider things from the ex-partner’s position. And always remind them to consider whether the money paid to the lawyer, plus the extra time and stress, is worth whatever it is they’re fighting over.
Breakups are indeed messy. Most people do not handle them well. Make sure your mate doesn’t feel like they’re on their own. Check in on them. Make sure they aren’t spinning out of control. Signs to watch for is if they
Tell them they’ll regret it in the morning
They will need you to be the voice of reason, whether it’s stopping them from doing a midnight drive-by to see whose car is parked up their old driveway, or quitting their job to avoid child support, or just hiding their assets. These things will only make the whole process messier, and probably a lot more expensive.
It really is about the kids
One of the biggest non-legal problems we at Cudmore Legal regularly see our clients going through is getting their head around the fact that the other parent won’t, and no longer has to, parent the way they’d like them to. Unfortunately we see a lot of parents wanting to minimise the other parent’s time with the children, and it often boils down to one parent just not thinking the other parent is going to follow the ‘correct’ routines. It’s important you remind our mate that spending meaningful time with both parents is far more important at the moment than whether the kids are brushing their teeth three times a day, or having too much screen time.