An Early Phase of the Divorce Steps: Helping the Parties Reach an Agreement

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There are several different divorce steps that you will undergo when you file for divorce, but the most important one is likely to be the ability of you and your spouse to reach an agreement before you divorce goes into court. Your willingness to work together to reach an equitable settlement has several advantages.

Your lawyer spends less time on your case so the cost of your divorce will be lower.

The lack of argument will help keep your frustration and stress level to a minimum thus allowing you to maintain a reasonably healthy lifestyle throughout the divorce steps.

You will be able to plan for the future because you will not have to wait to get into court to know what your settlement will be and whether you will have to move out of your home.

While not every couple filing for divorce is able to work out an agreement before their lawyers file the papers-or even before their case comes before the judge-it saves a great deal of emotional stress when you and your spouse are willing to negotiate rationally about the terms of your divorce. Do not make the mistake of attempting to hold on to the marriage by making the divorce steps impossible with unreasonable demands.


While it is more common with women than men, both are guilty of making attempts at manipulation. What this means is during the divorce steps they attempt to cause undue emotional stress on their spouses with unreasonable demands and unfounded accusations. While this is more common when adultery or physical cruelty is involved, it is sometimes a component in no-fault divorces as well. One of the most common forms of manipulation involves the children, especially if the spouse is involved with someone else. The jilted spouse may tell the other that he cannot see his children if the other woman is there or the husband may accuse his spouse of having an affair while they were still together in an attempt to make her feel guilty.

One of the best ways to follow the divorce steps is to leave your emotions out of the process. If your spouse has a new girlfriend/boyfriend, remember you are getting a divorce, so it is none of your concern any longer. Do not ever use the children as a crutch because not only will you harm them emotionally, you are likely to create a wedge between you and them that will be difficult to mend. Instead work hard to reach an agreement with your spouse so the lawyer can proceed with one of the last divorce steps and file your papers in court.


If you are unable to speak with your spouse directly or through his or her lawyer, enlist the services of a mediator. The mediator's job is to help you and your spouse come to an agreement that will not only be mutually satisfying but also within the scope of the law, a very important step especially if you live in one of the ten community property states. When you meet with the mediator always have any documentation necessary to prove your claim for separate property such as anything you received as a gift or an inheritance. Failing to work out an agreement through the mediator or your lawyer means the court will make the final decision, and it may not be the one you want to hear. These are the divorce steps you need to hear.

Christy Oconnor is a divorce lawyer specializing in divorce steps and divorce application, child custody, divorce settlements and the like.

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