Quick question – what do you think is the key to success in your divorce case?

Many will say – the lawyer. Get the better lawyer and you’ll get the better result. Not always true, however. I’ve seen plenty of younger, less experienced lawyers win cases.

Some may say – file first and never look back. Be aggressive. Unfortunately, this works more in favor of the lawyer because it inflates the time he or she will get to bill you.

I’ve even known of litigants who believed divine intervention helped them. And I’m sure some have even trusted plain old dumb luck. Good luck to those of you who go that route.

Here’s my answer to the question – divorce cases are won or lost in the six inches or so between your left ear and your right ear. Right attitude is crucial to success. You may not win with it, but you are almost certainly destined to fail without it.

So what is right attitude for a person who is in a divorce case? First and foremost, it’s accepting the fact that this is not the end of the world. Your life will go on. The sun will rise. Music will sound sweet and food will taste good. And you will be OK. The fact of the matter is that most of the strife which we associate with divorce comes from this – one party took mental and emotional leave of his or her marriage long ago, but the other didn’t. And probably doesn’t want to give it up.

No matter which you are, having a good attitude is critical. If you are the party ready to move on then, please, accept the fact your spouse isn’t going to deal with this well and it’s going to take time for him or her to “catch up.” It may be a bumpy ride. Don’t try to rush. Slow down. Remember “less haste – more speed.”

If you’re the one being left then heck, yes, you’re angry. And scared. But those strong emotions won’t help you through the process of divorce. They’ll get in the way. So you deal with how you feel, constructively. And outside of your case (your lawyer is not a therapist and litigation is not therapy). See a counselor. Talk to your pastor. Hit a punching bag, whatever, but don’t drag your feet and make the case take longer (and cost way more) than it should. For you I say “don’t cut off your nose to spite your face.”

As my dad told me (quite often and with justification, I must admit) “Mark, use your head for something besides a hat rack.” For those of you in a divorce, and the many more of you who may be in one, don’t let yourselves be ruled by emotion. Get a good attitude –take responsibility for your role in your failed marriage, deal with your strong, negative feelings outside the lawsuit, hire a lawyer with common sense and always look to preserve as much of your estate as you can.

You don’t have to like being divorced, but you owe it to yourself to stay cool. Consider collaborative divorce or mediation. Please.

Grace and peace.

Mark Lewis