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Opinion: empowerment tips and the "good divorce"

When it comes to marital dissolution in Florida or anywhere else, here’s the bottom-line tip from a family law author and commentator: “Try for the good divorce first.”

Although that can imply a lot of things, obviously, Margaret Klaw says that it most centrally means forgoing combat-like tactics in lieu of civil exchanges and amicability to the fullest extent possible.

Put another way: The divorce process is short when compared to life’s length itself, and in most cases it is flatly not a logical strategy to sabotage relations with a soon-to-be ex forever, especially when kids are involved.

Of course, some divorce proceedings necessarily entail the proverbial “scorched earth” tactics so often portrayed on television and elsewhere in the media. Perhaps the other party has been persistently abusive in marriage and presents a real threat of continuing danger. Perhaps he -- or she -- has a serious and long-term problem with drugs. Perhaps marital assets are being hidden or rapidly squandered.

Absent such concerns, though, Klaw makes the valid point that civility when possible during a divorce can pay dividends, both emotionally and financially. That can be especially true for many couples who eschew formal litigation in favor of working with a trained mediator.

Klaw offers other tips as well. At the top of the list -- and most often for a woman, she says -- is having a job that at least covers basic living expenses.

And in tandem with that recommendation, Klaw notes the strong need for any divorcing party to have a support team on hand. In many instances, members of that team include friends, an accountant and/or financial adviser and a specialist who works with children.

Most fundamentally, Klaw states, it includes an experienced family law attorney commanding “the range of skills to handle all types of divorces.”

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Three ways to protect yourself in a divorce," Margaret Klaw, Jan. 29, 2014

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