New Year’s Resolution Check-In
10 – 9 – 8 – 7 – 6 – 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 – Happy New Year! That’s right, the new year is here, and everyone’s talking about their New Year’s resolutions. It’s 2020. The beginning of the new decade especially offers us a time of reflection about what didn’t work well in the past and what we can do now to improve our futures. However, while most people start off the new year determined to achieve their new goals, it is a well-known fact that approximately 80% of our resolutions will fail by February.
Here we are, it is February. How are you doing?
Resolutions are important because they cause us to consider what we value most and how we can use our time more effectively to achieve those goals.
So what do we do to increase our chances of achieving our resolutions? Write them down and then tell others about them. This makes you more accountable and places your goals more permanently in the forefront of your mind.
Also, make sure that your goals are realistic and attainable. If you’ve never jogged more than a mile, perhaps it is unrealistic to set your initial goal at running a marathon. Consider a 5K instead and build up from there. By making resolutions that are measurable and rewarding your successes often, the positive reinforcement will increase your likelihood of continued success. You will be encouraged that you are on the right track.
So what is your big resolution this year?
New Year, New Home Life
There’s a reason that January is known as “Divorce Month.” This is when many of us resolve to make the break, finally. It’s not easy calling a lawyer for the first time, but after we’ve made it through the holidays this one last time is often when we finally do.
Is your New Year’s resolution to create a happier home life for yourself? Perhaps you know that the only way to do that is to divorce your spouse, but the idea is daunting, especially if you have minor children or you’re saddled with a large amount of debt. You know that you’re no longer happy with your partner, but you also don’t hate her. You don’t want a war, and you certainly don’t want the casualties such a thing entails.
But you’ve seen your friends and relatives go through the process, and most end up hating each other. How could they do otherwise when their divorce attorneys engage in battles with one another in the courtroom, while the judge, seeing just a snapshot of your reality, holds your fate in his hands? There’s usually a winner and a loser, but, in reality, both sides feel as though they’ve lost.
Is there a better way?
Yes, There Are Options!
There is! There are several different ways to approach negotiating your issues, but if you consult with an attorney known for his litigation acumen, you may not hear about them. For example, if you have limited issues that you can negotiate between yourselves, you can prepare and file your own paperwork, without retaining any attorney at all.
If you are not comfortable with that concept, one of you can retain an attorney who negotiates for you and drafts the paperwork. This way, important items are less likely to be missed.
If your spouse feels like she should have representation too, the two attorneys can help you negotiate with each other. One lawyer might draft the agreement, and the other might review and approve it.
If this isn’t enough, perhaps mediation is the right approach for the two of you. A mediator, who is usually a neutral lawyer, mental health professional, or financial person, can help you and your spouse negotiate your agreement, with or without attorneys.
Finally, a collaborative practice maybe your best option. If this is your choice, each of you is represented by your own collaboratively trained attorney. The two lawyers agree to withdraw if the collaborative process breaks down and one or both of you decide to litigate after all. But that rarely happens, in part because a mental health professional assists you as your team facilitator, ensuring that the process moves along effectively and that communication failures and personalities don’t cause unnecessary bumps in the road.
If there are financial issues, which there usually are in a divorce, a financial professional can also be included on the team to bring his own special expertise to the table.
Indeed, depending on the issues, other experts might also be included, such as child specialists, realtors, vocational evaluators, appraisers, probate experts, etc.
The end result is a more holistic and customized agreement than a couple could ever receive from a judge. Couples also learn valuable skills like how to co-parent and to communicate better than they have in years. They often leave the process as friends, but with a restructured family unit.
If you have resolved to restructure your family this year, call Open Palm Law; we can help you keep your New Year’s resolution in the most successful way possible.
Learn more about collaborative divorce. Follow Open Palm Law.
Joryn, attorney and Open Palm Founder, began her own firm here in Tampa after a 14-year career in law, two of which she served as a professor of law at Stetson University. She is a recipient of the prestigious A. Sherman Christensen Award, an honor bestowed in the United States Supreme Court upon those who have provided exceptional leadership in the American Inns of Court Movement. For more information on Joryn’s professional experience, take a look at her resume.