During A South Dakota Divorce, Focus On What's In Your Control


There are few times in your life when you will feel as "out of control" as when you are going through a divorce. We help people from all walks of life navigate through the waters of their divorce and one of the common threads that runs through each and every case, is the sense of being "out of control".

For example, you can't control how long it takes to get your case on the court's schedule; you can't control which attorney your spouse will hire; you can't control what that attorney will do to try to make the case more difficult; and you can't control which judge will get assigned to your case.

However, there are a lot of things that you can control that will make this process a lot easier for you to manage.

Questions To Ask About Yourself During A Divorce

How Kind Are You To Other People?

This may seem pretty obvious - but hear me out. There's not much about divorce that is fun while you're going through it. However, if you are simply kind to those you come across during the process, and even kind to your soon-to-be ex, the "points" you'll gain on your side will benefit you more than you know.

For instance, the judge will always have a keen eye for spotting which spouse is the angry one and which one is the reasonable one. They aren't being biased when they do this - it just happens to work out that the more reasonable party is typically the one who isn't using the "scorched earth" litigation tactics, which judges know is almost never in the best interests of a divorcing couple - especially when children are involved.

What Are Your Priorities During The Case?

If your priority is "scorched earth" at the end of your case, you will undoubtedly experience a very stressful divorce and feel "out-of-control" the majority of the time. The goal of any court is never to destroy a family's relationship, but rather to legally untangle the connections between two parties who no longer want to be married, but also maintain the threads which must be preserved when either children or property exists that still must be cared for.

You are in complete control of how you set your priorities from the start of the case. For most people, the most important things are children and finances. From the start of the case, make a decision that your priority will be to focus on healthy, equitable ways to handle these two issues. For example, if you make it your priority to focus on having sole custody of the children and for the other parent to have as little time with them as possible (unless there are legitimate legal reasons for restrictions) the "control" you seek likely won't be given to you by the court. Focus on the right priorities throughout the case and you will have more control in the end.

How Do You Take Care Of Yourself? 

Divorces are stressful. We've seen some clients stop eating due to worrying all the time or they tend to reach for all the unhealthy foods to try to comfort them. Controlling how you take care of yourself during this process is important. Is your Ex being unreasonable about how to split summer vacation with the children? If so, go for a long walk around the neighborhood to cool down before you respond. 

These suggestions are just some of the ways we tell our clients to focus on things that are within their control. There is no way to avoid all of the stress a court case will produce in your life, but there are ways to deal with the stress that's created.

Brooke Swier Schloss
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Family Law and Estate Planning attorney helping families across South Dakota plan and protect their loved ones