Divorce can be one of the most difficult transitions that a person will have to make in their lifetime. The experience can be emotionally challenging, especially if it becomes contentious.

However, if you are considering divorce, there are ways you can take control and help make the process smoother, which can lead to a better physical, emotional and financial outcome.

Consider four thoughtful approaches

Divorce can be a gentler and less expensive proceeding when you are armed with knowledge before taking action. Be prepared by:

Making sure divorce is the best option: Can your differences with your spouse be worked out with counseling? Has your foundation of love and trust been irretrievably broken? Don’t let family and friends influence your decision.

Maintaining respect: This may be one of the most difficult challenges you will face depending upon the circumstances. However, working with your spouse can ease tensions for your family and reduce legal costs, especially if you avoid a court battle.

Finding a shared goal: If you and your spouse can’t agree on anything, find a common goal that can lead to a quicker and less stressful resolution. Making your children the top priority can lessen the importance of other issues that spark contention and mistrust.

Considering all options: Couples that decide to take their fight to court can expect a lengthy and expensive transition to their new lives. Others have better financial and emotional outcomes by considering:

  • Mediation: A neutral third-party helps couples come to an agreement outside of court. While this is usually more cost-effective, both parties can still pursue litigation if their issues aren’t resolved.
  • Collaborative divorce: In this voluntary process, spouses, their attorneys and other potential advisors or professionals sign a Participation Agreement to resolve their differences without going to court, which can help both spouses maintain privacy.

Preparation is crucial for a smoother result

Divorce can be a complicated process, especially if children are involved and when marital property is divided under Michigan’s equitable distribution laws. But being prepared by knowing your priorities and understanding your financial situation can keep the process from becoming overwhelming. Getting the advice of an experienced divorce attorney can also help you reach a better outcome.