50 Ways to Settle Your Divorce OUTSIDE the Courtroom
1. Go to mediation or Alternative Dispute Resolution to have a neutral 3rd party help you settle your divorce.
2. While your case is pending, make sure you GIVE your ex all documentation related to your assets and debts so s/he can be in the best position to make decisions about a divorce settlement.
3. While your divorce is pending, make sure you GET all documentation related to your assets and debts FROM your ex so YOU can be in the best position to make decisions about the case.
4. If you DO get along with your ex, don’t hire lawyers right off the bat. Just sit down in a neutral location and talk about a way to settle your divorce that would be best for your family. Then, see #9 and #10 below.
5. If you DON’T get along with your ex and can’t reason with him/her, hire a lawyer to be your mouthpiece.
6. Be willing to exchange something that you want for something that you want more.
7. Be willing to give up on the idea of getting something that you want.
8. Don’t argue about kids or property based on “the principle” of the matter. Would you rather be right or would you rather settle your divorce?
9. If you and your ex agree on exactly how your case will be settled, hire an attorney to prepare and file your divorce documents.
10. If you and your ex agree on exactly how your case will be settled, do-it-yourself through the Maricopa County Superior Court Website.
11. Choose to participate in a Collaborative Divorce.
12. Don’t let your emotions get the better of you. If you are angry or hurt, try to let those feelings subside a little before making big decisions related to your divorce. If you don’t do this, you could make decisions that are based on emotion, rather than reason.
13. Consult with a financial planner, tax advisor or Certified Divorce Financial Planner to understand tax consequences and future financial projections. This will help you make an informed decision as to what type of property division would be fair and equitable.
14. Research your particular judge and consider how s/he might rule (under the worst case scenario) on the issues in your case. Propose to settle your divorce in a way that is better than the worst case scenario.
15. Offer to take on more than 50% of the debt.
16. Offer to give your ex more than 50% of the community’s assets.
17. If your ex is taking more of the personal property, forget about asking for monetary reimbursement for your share of that property.
18. If spousal maintenance is an issue, offer to pay your ex something, even if it is not 100% of what s/he is asking to get paid.
19. If you are asking for spousal maintenance, agree to take less than what you really want.
20. If you are asking for spousal maintenance, agree to waive it altogether.
21. For purposes of calculating child support, give your ex ALL documentation related to your income (W-2s, several months of paystubs, tax returns, etc.) so s/he can feel confident you are not hiding income.
22. If you work at a commission position, for purposes of calculating child support, don’t lowball by claiming your income is your (very low) base salary. Agree to average your gross income over several months or years.
23. If your ex works more than one job (for more than 40 hours a week), don’t take the position that child support should be based on the income of BOTH jobs.
24. Don’t voluntarily quit your (good) job for a lower paying job, then ask your ex to agree to the new, lower salary for purposes of calculating child support.
25. Don’t even consider getting an order of protection against your ex that is not justified.
26. If you MUST get an order of protection, do not include the children on it unless they are actually in harm’s way.
27. If an order of protection has been filed (and upheld) against you, do not violate it under any circumstances.
28. Don’t destroy, sell or hide your ex’s property or community property.
29. Don’t withhold the children from your ex.
30. Don’t coach your children to say that they want to live with you the majority of the time.
31. Don’t introduce your children to your new gal pal or boy toy until some time has passed and you know that that person is going to be around for a while.
32. Don’t take illegal drugs, drugs without a prescription or drink and drive (especially when the children are with you).
33. Participate in individual and family counseling with your ex and with the kids.
34. Be flexible with the other parent if s/he is running late to pick up the kids or wants to swap a day here or there.
35. Don’t intentionally charge up 100s (or 1000s) of dollars in credit card debt in the weeks before you file for divorce.
36. Keep current on the community obligations that YOU are responsible for while the divorce is pending; don’t let bills fall behind.
37. Pay your court ordered monthly child support obligation.
38. If you don’t receive your court ordered monthly child support obligation on time, find out why before you jump the gun and start filing motions in court.
39. Don’t send harassing text messages to your ex.
40. Don’t bad mouth your ex on Facebook or Twitter.
41. Don’t bad mouth your ex to your children in common.
42. Don’t move across the city from your ex, then demand an equal parenting time schedule.
43. Don’t insist that your ex be responsible for 100% of the parenting time transportation.
44. Don’t change schools or doctors without involving your ex on that decision, even if you do have temporary sole legal-decision making authority (sole custody).
45. Take the mandatory Parent Information Program Class.
46. If you were not the primary caretaker, take parenting classes to make your ex feel more confident in your abilities.
47. Don’t ask to be awarded personal property that you never cared about nor used during the marriage (out of spite).
48. Don’t relocate the children without involving the other parent.
49. Know your rights and have a basic understanding of Arizona’s domestic relations laws.
50. Keep your mind open and be willing to consider ANY possibility for case settlement.