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Emotional soft landing in divorce

Splitting up a marital relationship has legal, financial and emotional costs. But there are ways to soften the emotional impact of divorce which can help ease the resolution of other issues.

In addition to reaching agreement on legal issues such as property division, the spouses may also agree on other important emotional matters such as maintaining respect and assuring the stability for their children. They should make it clear that they are still a family and both spouses should try to attend their children's athletic events, birthdays, school activities and other important events. This is also facilitated, according to some experts, when the couple agrees to settle legal and physical custody, visitation and other similar issues concerning the children before other legal issues such as property division.

Speaking negatively about the other spouse in front of the children is unacceptable for many reasons. Most of all, it is harmful for the children.

Spouses should also understand that the divorce is a process intended to resolve legal matters. It is not a process for settling emotional issues. Although compassion and respect may help ease this process, other emotions such as anger, grief, revenge, betrayal and other emotions can add time, cost and turmoil and hamper the resolution of issues.

Avoiding court litigation also has emotional benefits and is less expensive and troubling. This also allows the spouses to fashion a resolution that meets their own needs. Courts, instead, may apply their own formulas and reach decisions that may be less accepting to the parties.

If the parties cannot reach a settlement on their own, they can engage in mediation. In this confidential process, a neutral mediator helps the parties and their attorneys create their own settlement without imposing a resolution on them.

They can also participate in arbitration. This is a private proceeding before a neutral arbitrator. The arbitrator, as distinguished from the mediator, makes the final decisions for the divorcing spouses.

Finally, everyone from friends to relatives may offer their own views on the divorce and soon-to-be former spouse. Spouses should base their opinions on their experiences and judgments and may be able to maintain friendly relationships.

An attorney can present options on settling matters and assuring that rights are protected. They can also provide representation in mediation or arbitration, settlement discussion or court proceedings.

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Linda M. DiPasquale, Attorney at Law

Linda M. DiPasquale, Attorney at Law
1 Niagara Square
Buffalo, NY 14202

Phone: 716-800-2591
Fax: 716-854-0059
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